A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said, ‘Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.’
The Lord led the holy man to two doors.
He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in.. In the middle of the room was a large round table.. In the middle of the table was a large
pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy man’s mouth water.
The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful. But because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.
The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering.
The Lord said, ‘You have seen Hell.’
They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of
stew which made the holy man’s mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking. The holy man said, ‘I don’t understand.’
It is simple,’ said the Lord. ‘It requires but one skill. You see they have learned to feed each other, while the greedy think only of themselves.’
When Jesus died on the cross, he was thinking of you.
Mental illness is more difficult to deal with than a broken bone.
Broken bones are relatively easy. You see the break. The doctor sets the broken bone back into proper alignment and the healing process is completed within a matter of weeks. Everyone can see the break. Everyone has empathy for the "sick" person.
Mental illness is very different. It's different on every level. Many times the doctors don't know exactly what's going on. Is it the ODD that's causing the issue? Is it the PTSD? Is it the ADD? Is it the anxiety? Is it likely to be a combination of all of the above?
What is the best treatment plan? Various pharmaceuticals? Therapy? Counseling? What type of therapy? How often should counseling take place?
It's all so confusing. It's all so draining.
Mental illness is not for sissies.
Since mental illness cannot be seen like a broken bone it is difficult for some to comprehend why the individual who is "sick" doesn't just act better. That person should behave better. We're tired of that person ruining everything!
How does a person love someone with mental illness? Especially when the sick person is hateful! When the sick person rejects the help offered?!
Mental illness isn't for sissies!
Our family has continued to grow and too even blossom. I still don’t (completely) understand all of the whys. However, I am finally at peace with The Event.
To see the love and joy that is in our family now truly blesses my heart.
We will never forget that tragic night when we were notified of Buddy’s death. I can still hear and see it all in my mind’s eye.
I remember you Buddy. I remember you well, my friend.
“I have come to understand that, sometimes the Lord calls our loved ones home when they are ready, not when we are ready.” Pastor Tracie Baird
REMEMBERING AFTER EIGHT YEADRS
I tried not to. Honest, I did. It’s been seven years. When will it be enough? Some day. How long is enough? Just a bit more.
I can still see it all (vividly) unfolding in front of me. I feel that helpless feeling. I can hear that moaning… that deep guttural moaning. The screaming and tears are still so real to me.
Is this me being unable to move on? I don’t know. And I don’t care… or do I?
I remember it all. Meeting the hearse at the airport and following it home. Going inside the funeral home for a bit. Buddy’s escort there with his body in that flag draped casket.
Returning the next day for our personal goodbye. I had my arm around her. She was standing a little bent forward, hands clasped at her chest. Me with my lef arm around her shoulder, my right hand…
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I will be the first to admit that one of my biggest challenges is that I have difficulty seeing other people’s point of view… especially when the subject matter is something I have spent time researching and studying.
Admittedly, this doesn’t typically bother me. However, my Mrs. and I help facilitate a Small Group at our local church and my inability or even unwillingness to step back and consider that there may be another view worth considering has left me with a feeling of great unworthiness: even of creating division. Precisely the opposite of what Small Groups are about.
What has lead me to this epiphany is that we got into a discussion about silent prayer and audible prayer. I have read and studied many passages in Holy Scripture, read books, been to work-shops and had numerous discussions about prayer. But I have never seen or heard (specifically) discussed the value or merit of silent prayer. Or so I thought.
The discussion at Small Group last week (by some measure) had a pretty contentious atmosphere about it. Not the loving, accepting and valuing atmosphere we typically aspire to and experience.
I must acknowledge and accept that this atmosphere was created by my rigid stance that audible prayer is by far the most effective way to communicate with our Creator. In fact, I believe that my approach to this subject matter did more to push some people away than it did to draw them closer to God.
Yes, I understand that I am not the Holy Spirit and that regardless of what goes on around us we are each individually held accountable for our spiritual standing with the Lord (by His grace and mercy). Never-the-less, I further understand that I will be held accountable for throwing road blocks in the paths of those seeking a more meaningful relationship with the Lord.
Romans 14:17 For, after all, the important thing for us as Christians is not what we eat or drink but stirring up goodness and peace and joy from the Holy Spirit. 18 If you let Christ be Lord in these affairs, God will be glad; and so will others. 19 In this way aim for harmony in the church, and try to build each other up.
I have fallen woefully short in creating harmony. For that I am very sorry and confess that I will/must change my ways in these matters.
There is a bit of good news though. This has caused me to take a closer look at my prayer life and style. While I am completely comfortable with praying out loud, I had neglected to take into consideration what roll silent prayer (and meditation) plays in my life and too what extent I (personally) employ it.
The results of my “review” have been quite convicting! Who am I to tell others what the best way is for them to pray?! We each have our own unique way that we are best able to communicate with our Creator. I have come to better understand that God has created each of us so uniquely that only HE (through His Holy Spirit) will determine how best to commune with each individual.
I can only ask for grace and forgiveness from those whom I have offended with my pious attitude.
Seven and a half years later and I can still feel this.
It had been one of those Mondays so my wife and I went up to bed around nine that night.
Our daughter and son-in-law had moved back in with us the previous May when his National Guard unit was activated to deploy to Afghanistan. They had married a little over a year before and moved to Buddy’s small home town of Poteau, Oklahoma so Alexis could get to know his family before he deployed. It was always in the plans for her to stay with us while he was gone.
Our evening had been pretty uneventful. Except that Lex mentioned (around six) that she hadn’t heard from Buddy yet and was wondering what was going on. He would usually call her ever day. On this particular day he was supposed to call her to let her know which of the pictures he liked best.
You see Buddy had come home for…
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I think there is a great misconception about Christianity… especially when someone initially accepts
Christ as their personal Savior.
Upon conversion many people believe, “Great, I’ve accepted Jesus. Now I won’t have any problems or challenges in my life.” WRONG!
Jesus never promised us a problem free existence. What He did promise is that He would give us the Holy Spirit to help us make better choices. Making better choices may lead to fewer pot holes in the road of life. Not pot hole free but fewer pot holes.
It has been my personal experience that life happens in seasons. I’ll have a season where it seems as though I can do no wrong. Everything is almost golden. Not perfect mind you but nothing major going wrong and when things do seem challenging I am generally lead to a smoother path. That season, my dear friends, is a dangerous one. It is during those times that I have a tendency to become complacent about my spiritual growth. Complacency can lead to stagnation. For me, stagnation is a dangerous place to be.
Then there are seasons that seem to be wrought with shear havoc! Pandemonium even. It’s as if God is saying, “Okay, now do I have your attention?”
I have spent enough times in those seasons that I am now able to recognize them as they are forming on my horizon. That recognition is a good thing. A very good thing.
It normally begins with me being presented with a choice or two. One choice will lead to a season of selfish indulgence. You see, the enemy knows precisely where my weaknesses lye. And he knows that I am wise enough (now) to recognize a red flag when it appears. So what he will do is try to lull me into a false sense of security, even try to convince me that because of “x – y – z” that a short season of self indulgence won’t be that big of a deal. WRONG AGAIN!!
I have learned that even the smallest of selfish indulgences can and will likely, lead to a place I had never planned to go. Similar to climbing a ladder, once I step on that first rung the second rung is easier, then the third, then before I know it I’m standing on the top of the ladder marked “Not a step”
Have I always made the proper decision. Heck no. And I suppose there will be many short comings along the road of life. However, I am willing to be a bit introspective and be able to make the proper adjustments when and where needed.
I’ll just keep running the race.