Many of those who have a family, go to church, and are involved in day-to-day activities, still they have a way of saving up many pent emotions, feelings and even words. With the slightest of triggers, they find themselves lashing out at others during this time because they are basically unhappy, out to prove a matter, or generally miserable. No one that I know of really has a Norman Rockwell painting lifestyle. Some have beautiful homes, money to buy great gifts, and have food in abundance, but someone has worked hard to put all of that together.
In three days recently, I spoke to three adult women, all of whom are struggling with feelings of failure, low self esteem, anger and depression, and one went as far as to say she wanted to end it all and just go ahead and die. Each was hurting in her own particular way and needed help but was unable or unwilling to seek out a professional counselor or minister. One said sincerely that she had no idea why her youngest daughter had turned on her and forbidden her to ever see her beloved grandchildren again. After listening to the conversation and getting a later report from someone who dearly loves this woman, I understood more of why the young mother had taken such a serious stand with her own mother.
We all know people fail us from time to time. They make promises they cannot keep. They say they will do something they never do. After offering to stand by our sides during trials and burdens, they are escape artists when we need them most. These are all good reasons to keep our eyes on Jesus and not on man, or woman. Human beings cannot make us happy. Joy is born in our own souls, and if we have it bubbling out of our lives, then we must thank God that we have learned to live not in perfect circumstances, but with perfect peace in our hearts and lives.
Many of our children have just about all they can do to keep food on the table, house notes paid in full, clothing laundered and folded or hung, doctor’s appointments made and kept, and houses cleaned while working a full-time job to help with the family budget. Perhaps we expect too much when we think they can call or visit more often. On the other hand, adult children, perhaps you are not being as considerate as you should be toward your parents.
I am very familiar with a situation that I have observed for 10 years where three adult children work good jobs, seem to have plenty of money for trips and gadgets, all of the newest electronics, vehicles, and telephones, and yet none of the three has ever sent the father a card, note or gift, and there’s seldom a telephone call unless they want something. If their gift has not arrived by the time they think it should, they will call and ask where it is. This is a horrible way to live, in my humble opinion. There will be a day when this father is dead and buried, and I would imagine there’ll be sad lamenting at that time for their friends and family to observe. They could have and should have loved him while he was alive and healthy if the relationships were normal and kind.
I gave one of the three women the following advice. Perhaps it will help someone you know as well. Take time to appreciate the good, positive people God places in your life and path. Try your best to avoid the negativity coming from others that would only serve to bring you down and make you sad. Work at forgiving those who have wronged you. Let the hurts, slights and cruel words go, and you will feel much stronger, safer and happier. Learn to embrace changes as they come, and they do come to all people. Learn to do new things, visit new places, make new friends, and continue to grow as a person.
Work at recognizing those who truly love you and establish goals that lead to loving yourself. All human beings make mistakes. Only God is perfect. Look at the trouble and hardships others experience and be thankful to God that you don’t have those in your life. Plan some time for fun. It doesn’t have to cost a great sum of money. Card or board games, shared dessert or coffee, seeing a movie, watching TV, reading a good book, or simply visiting can go a long way toward healing. Align yourself with the fact that the past is not the present and that it is gone. Work on today and be happy in this moment. Read some Scripture every day and try to find a church group in which you can be happy and grow. Enjoy the little things in life, for one day they may truly seem to be the big things you were looking for all the time.
“I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, and in Him, I will trust.” “He shall cover thee with His feathers and under His wings shall thou trust.” “His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” “For He shall give His angels charge over thee.” — selections from Psalm 91
Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.