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This Week in Course Companions: Our Tragic Stories

The following is from the weekly message by Circle founder, Robert Perry, delivered each Thursday to Course Companions members. Course Companions is our global community of students and teachers walking through the Course, section-by-section and lesson-by-lesson, together as friends. For access to any classes, handouts, and additional commentaries referenced in these posts, we invite you to join Course Companions by visiting CourseCompanions.com. Please note that partial and full scholarships are available and no one is turned away from Circle of Atonement programming for an inability to pay. 

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June 18, 2020

We only had one Course Companions class this week—on Workbook Lesson 166: “I am entrusted with the gifts of God”—along with our Sunday gathering on “I Need Do Nothing.” As I look at both of those, along with our Text material this week, a theme emerges that I suspect is relevant for each and every one of us.

We all carry around a story of our tragic past. Maybe we wouldn’t use the word “tragic,” but we hold an image of a past in which we were misunderstood, not given our due, not truly appreciated, not treated right. Now some of us, of course, have pasts in which things were done to us that everyone would agree were tragic. Yet even those of us who had fairly breezy pasts still carry a story of being hard done-by. There is a universality to this story that is quite remarkable.

And this story matters to us. It is sacred to us. It drives us. It dictates our future goals. We nurse it. We tell it to others. And we need them to understand it, and weep with us.

One of the main things the Course is asking us to do is to let go of this story, to let go of our past as we see it. Wouldn’t it be freeing to just wipe the slate clean and start fresh? Could it be that our conviction that the world owes us for the past is not a priceless IOU, but just a chain we wrap around our minds?

To let our story go, we first need to realize just how subjective it is, how much we have forged those memories out of anger, and how we thus fashioned memories that were just funhouse caricatures of what happened.

We also need to realize that our story is fundamentally untrue. Lesson 166 describes us using the image of a homeless person, who wanders the world as an outcast, in misery and poverty. This homeless person feels he is living out a tragic tale. “Yet,” the lesson asks, “is he really tragic, when you see that he is following the way he chose, and need but realize Who walks with him and open up his treasures to be free?” (W-166.6:3). If we chose the road we have been walking on and if all the while we have been followed around by eternal treasures from God, simply waiting for our acceptance, doesn’t that change the story? The lesson goes on to say that Christ “would make you laugh at this perception of yourself” (W-166.8:3).

Imagine being able to laugh at the tragic story you’ve been carrying around. Imagine grasping how subjective it is, realizing that you were in the driver’s seat all along and that God’s gifts have followed you wherever you went, silently asking you to accept them. Isn’t the comfort of this new picture far greater than any comfort you ever derived from your tragic story?

With love,

Robert