When someone asks how we’re doing, we frequently answer, “Oh, hangin’ in there.” We can’t go deeper without burdening the sometimes casual questioner.
Even when the question is sincere, it usually takes too much of our limited energy to explain what’s going on, especially for an introvert. More so, if they’re feeling just a tad, or a whole lot, depressed that day. And extroverts will cover their true feelings anyway. Rarely will they admit they’re not in control of their feelings at the moment.
As the kitten trying to hang on to the rope knows only too well, many of us spend much of our lives just hangin’ in there, and we can’t do even that without God’s help.
Some people will refuse to acknowledge Divine help, even when it’s obvious they could never have survived this long without it. No one else can do anything about that kind of attitude but the rest of us know facts are facts.
Sometimes we got ourselves into our current predicament. More often, it’s the result of someone else’s bad choices or the uncovering of their true personality. For example, sometimes we do marry the wrong person, maybe someone who is financially irresponsible. Either way, the good Lord is there to hold us up out of the muck if we will let Him.
What Will We Do Next?
We have to decide what we’re going to do next. A widespread disaster or a horrific massacre will rattle us to our inner core. It doesn’t matter that we were absolutely positive that our Faith would see us through anything any time.
Only someone with a heart of stone hasn’t been disturbed by all the natural disasters and man-made tragedies of 2017. Add to that the infuriating behavior of people and corporations carrying out other, perhaps lesser, crimes solely for the sake of making the lives of others miserable while queening it over the neighborhood or meeting their bottom line. At least, that is their hope and their small-minded intention.
Before the exquisite tributes given to the departed, it has been astounding and heartwarming to see the goodness in decent people rushing to help those dying and trying to get others to safety at peril of their own lives. But it pains me deeply to listen to those who pontificate that God wanted all this to happen.
For His own purposes, He sometimes allows events to happen but He never wishes agony and suffering on His children. He only wishes we weren’t so mule-headed. He wishes we would instead follow the teachings of the Savior, Jesus Christ, who willingly laid down his life to save the eternal lives of all of his brothers and sisters who would ever live on earth. Eventually, the Father’s patience will come to an end and His wrath will be poured out upon the entire earth.
When we’re not on the front lines or in the thick of terrible events, we sometimes wonder what we can actually do to help now while hangin’ in there. A few ideas are:
- Without turning us into a snooping land where everyone spies on their neighbors (à la former Soviet communal apartment living), we can help the police and ourselves by subscribing to if you see something, say something:
- That abandoned backpack
- That suspicious vehicle parked for hours where it doesn’t belong
- The guy trespassing in our neighbor’s yard or climbing the fence
- The redhead trying to get into our garage
- We can get certified in CPR and/or other First Aid techniques.
- We can donate blood, if we’re healthy. (You won’t know until you fill out the Red Cross questionnaire, so please try.)
- We can keep a week’s supply of water and non-perishable food for home consumption and keep extra in the trunk of the car for ourselves and others, along with a change of clothing.
- We can set up small, monthly donations to worthy favorite charities, the ones that churches tend to ignore, such as:
- Anti-cruelty organizations
- Groups dedicated to rescuing children from sex-trafficking rings
- Your nearest Rescue Mission to help people get off the streets
- The USO and other military-oriented groups
- We can do an Internet search for many other options.
We Can’t Be Positive All the Time
We can hardly pay attention to the Internet or to “feel good” magazines and TV shows without running daily or weekly into variations of : Think Yourself Rich, Seize the Day, Envision Your Future, Positive Thinking, As a Man Thinketh, etc.
No one can be 100% positive all the time. It’s unrealistic and will drain us of all energy. On top of that, it becomes discouraging. When we realize we’re far short of that kind of ideal, why bother? We should set the bar high but not too high. (We can always adjust it again later.) And we need to recharge our own energy by retreating into a calm place by reading, walking in nature, or just disappearing from the maddening crowd for a while – on a regular basis.
It’s perfectly normal to be negative when someone has punched us in the gut or stomped on our head. Only an idiot lets them do it a second time. I may forgive you for it if I survived but I’m not letting you think that’s how you can treat me going forward. Perhaps I think that way because I’m a woman who is weary and cranky after centuries of abuse by bullies.
What’s even worse is other people nagging us to think differently, like we’re not entitled to our feelings when someone close to us passes away, or we despair at the unconscionable antics of spiteful politicians hell-bent on pulling the rug out from under Seniors and the Disabled. If we’re not going to stand up and fight for Grammy and Grandpa, or Mom and Dad, who will we fight for? It will be too late to fight for ourselves and our children, if we’ve done nothing for a decade.
Obviously, we can’t dwell on painful things forever but we can’t pretend they don’t exist in modern society. Sometimes, all we can do is hang in there until things get brighter for us and our nation. In the meantime, we should be looking for those sparks of light we can carry with us to brighten the world and make it the joyful place it was intended to be. And always, keep hangin’ in there.