Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Courage and Prudence.

Prudence is a workable middle ground, a channel of clear sailing between the obstacles of fear on the one side and of recklessness on the other. Prudence in practice creates a definite climate, the only climate in which harmony, effectiveness, and consistent spiritual progress can be achieved.

Bill Wilson, Third Legacy Manual, P. 148
I've never liked the word prudence. Reminds me of quakers, of old fashioned religion. I didn't see much fun in that word. I notice prude at the root of it. No way I was going to known as prude.

I came across it a couple of days ago, in a Bill W. reader called "The AA way of Life" published in 1967. My sponsor has lent it to me with the usual "read this, it might help." which really means if you wanna get better, study this thing.

I came across the quote while reading all the passages related to fear. Laying prejudice aside, I grabbed the dictionary and read "the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason" which I promptly shook my head at. Like I'm gonna trust my thinking. And then I noticed something inside square brackets which said "more at PROVIDENCE". So I looked that up and found "divine guidance or care." and found myself back into the steps.

Bill W. states that prudence will keep me off the rocks of fear and recklessness. Prudence is the ability to govern or discipline self by reasoning. Providence says that reasoning comes from God, not my head. So the question becomes, when I am feeling afraid, "what does God want me to think or do?"

Fear becomes obsessive within me. Prudence is the way out.

When fear persisted, we knew it for what it was, and we became able to handle it. We began to see each adversity as a God-given opportunity to develop the kind of courage which is born of humility, rather that of bravado.

Grapevine, January, 1962

In a talk that Bill Wilson gave in 1966 he said

"Prudence is rational concern without worry."

Thank you.

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