Thursday, March 21, 2013

Life is Always Easier When it Happens to Someone Else

 Life is Always Easier When it Happens to Someone Else

No matter how well a life is lived the grand finale is always a funeral. 

You may be asking what brought this sort of thought on for me.  Well it started with old photographs and a couple of sad movies.  In the photos I saw a young man who died at 25 while carrying the wounded to safety on the beaches of Normandy June 6, 1944.  I saw the face of a 33 year old woman who simply dropped dead one day while she was caring for an elderly lady.  Such good care did the elderly lady receive from that young woman that she thought her mother had died; and her grief was for the loss of a mother.  I saw photos of elderly people who lived long lives with good health well into their eighties. 

The movies conveyed similar though fictional stories.  Sometimes someone died young and heroically.  Sometimes they just died without any fuss leaving family and friends to cope with their loss.

When grief overwhelms someone, that person is not at his or her best too help someone else who is also overcome with grief.  When my sister died, I thought I automatically had first dibs on sorrow and grief.  I didn’t try to use it my advantage.  I just forgot to pay enough attention to my husband and children and how they were coping with it.  How silly of me.  My kids grew up with their Aunt April as their personal slave.  There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t have done for them.  I remembered her as the little sister who grew into an alleged adult without a shred of common sense.  My husband remembered her as a force of nature.  We all had to cope with her loss.  And since none of us are perfect, we dealt with it imperfectly. 

As it turns out, that is how we cope with every situation.  Since we are not perfect we can’t bring about a perfect outcome to anything no matter how hard we try.  And if we were perfect we still wouldn’t be able to bring about a perfect outcome because no one else is perfect. 

We now that is true because of the perfect life of Jesus Christ.  It is a given that no one took His life.  He gave it.  But we can look at how His perfection worked with those He knew.  A lot of people loved Him.  A lot of people hated Him so much they wanted to kill Him.  Jesus Christ did not sin, but He lived and worked with people who did sin.  Today He works with people who sin.  That means you and me.  We are the means Jesus Christ uses to reach a particular end.  From a human view point this would be a very frustrating situation.  It would be sort of like trying to cut a cord of firewood with a pocket knife instead of chainsaw with a recently sharpened chain, or something sort of like that.  The truth is that a perfect outcome to any situation is only possible when all parties involved are actually perfect.

No matter how hard an individual may work to achieve a proper and worthy goal, there will be bumps in the road.  And the end result will never be the exactly what we had in mind to begin with.  And, while an individual works toward something, or just works to get through the day, human frailties get in the way.  There will definitely be hurt feelings, anger, fear, and frustrations.  These feelings show up in how people act.  How one person acts affects everyone around them. 

When we look at people from a historical viewpoint, it is easier to see their successes.  It is easier to overlook their mistakes and personality peculiarities than it is those people that we deal with on a daily basis.  We don’t see the disappointments or struggles of historical figures or ancestors.  We don’t see tiny irritations that grew into big problems.  It is easy to forget that those people we admire are simply imperfect people just like everyone else.

Here is an example of how it works.  Julia doesn’t sleep well.  She wakes up tired knowing she has people counting on her to get a job done.  Kids are counting on her to get them fed, dressed, and off to school.  Her husband and family are counting her to bring home a paycheck in order to help pay the mortgage, put food on the table, and buy clothes.  Her boss is grumpy.  Her job is in jeopardy because of downsizing.  She prays for help from God and for a good attitude during the day.  And, she just might have pulled it off IF the rest of the family had cooperated.  Her husband Justin hadn’t slept well either.  He got up predisposed to having a grumpy day.  He fought the urge, and he just might have pulled it off except the kids got up coughing and sniffling.  They weren’t sick enough to keep them home.  They were just achy enough to be grumpy.  The kids got up expecting their parents to give them full attention and make them feel better.  And the day went downhill from there.

Scenarios like this go on day after day, day in and day out.  Over time frustrations and resentment builds up.  The truth is that everyone has a wounded life.  Their feelings are hurt by parents who are simply human.  They love their kids and try to do their very best.  Marriages are wounded by people who don’t actually do anything majorly wrong.  They just have a long list of little things that build up.  Work related stress and problems are often a buildup of small but constant irritations and frustrations. 

Taking time to consider other people’s frustrations, disappointments, sorrows, and worries is a good place to begin in dealing with or even resolving some chronic issues.  Understanding other people’s problems doesn’t give them an excuse for their behavior any more than your own problems and frustrations give you an excuse for your sinful behavior.  If you look at something from a distance you can say that a day of frustrating events for mom/dad/teacher/boss/sibling doesn’t give that person a right to respond to those around them in anger and impatience.  On the other hand, when it is personal and you are the one having a day of frustrating events it may seem more acceptable to vent your frustration on those around you. Does that sound about right to you?

Honestly, there is no total solution to human imperfections.  It is good to recognize our own shortcomings.  It is also good to recognize that other people are living in situations that while generally acceptable still have problems that simply go with being human. 

To improve one’s own life Christians should continue to pray and work to do the right thing with patience and good humor even in trying and boring situations.  Second, forgive those around you whether they deserve it or not.  Chances are they are dealing with a level of frustrations and disappointments that equals your own.  It doesn’t give them an excuse for behaving badly.  Forgiveness and understanding ultimately makes your own life easier.

Truthfully we are all in the same boat.  We want to do better.  We are tired, frustrated, and impatient.  We fall short of our goals.  Our behavior hurts those we love and care about.  Those around us want to do better, but their own problems influence their behavior.

No one can bring about a perfect world.  However, we can stop the cycle of anger and frustrations in our lives to some extent by modifying our own behavior.  If the rest of the people in your life want to continue in reacting to other people’s bad attitudes and behaviors, that will be their problem.  If all Christians let John 13:34 be our motto the world would be improved for the individual Christian, the Christians family and friends, and ultimately their country and the world 

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.’ John 13:34

I don’t know about you, but I am longing for the ‘Sweet By and By’

I’ll Fly Away – Jim Reeves – love it!

This World is Not my Home – Jim Reeves – wonderful song



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Soul Wars Trilogy - Book Two - Walking