By Dr. Andy
When our lives are sailing along smoothly, or nearly so, we may think we have no compelling reason to work on our relationships, however weak or strong they may be. So, we push them aside, quite possibly overlooking any opportunity there may be to improve those relationships.
So, please join me in taking a hard look at three very real life situations where opportunity may exist for personal growth but which opportunity may go unrecognized.
In the death of a loved one. Short of one's own awareness of his or her impending death, possibly the most emotionally draining experience a human being can have is to experience the loss of someone near and dear. While it is necessary for the mourner to grieve deeply over the loss, he or she is in need of support and the supporters themselves need to find meaning and purpose in the shared experience. Others can intentionally be present for the mourner. And the mourner can intentionally reach back to the supporter. When that happens, I believe the lives affected are moving along a curative path too seldom traveled. They are moving toward further growth, greater maturity and toward becoming much wiser.
The memorial service itself can often brings persons closer, cementing their relationships while making the "ties that bind" stronger than ever. This is especially a possibility when the minister has a sound theology and is able to develop and lead a service that is a unifying experience, as is the purpose of every Christian worship time.
Grief is painful, we know. But the pain felt for the dying and those affected is often a great teacher, which collectively endured becomes collectively more binding over the long haul.
Something similar is possible in divorce, which bring to those involved similar emotions of pain and negativity. This negativity can, of course, stay on indefinitely, further weakening the lives of everyone touched, unless those same persons reach out to one another for the purpose of having more meaningful relationships, leaving behind the past that needs to be left behind, while seizing the future that needs to come.
In a typical divorce, it is not just two people; but a minimum of two families and two groups of friends involved, which, in turn could lead to the losing of a job, our third area of therapeutic possibility.
Frequently overlooked is the fact that many, perhaps most people who have worked for any length of time have lost at least one job they thought they needed. If this loss is recent or unexpected, insolvency can also result as well as other unfortunate outcomes that test the fiber of everyone affected.
But, as many job losers can attest, and have attested to: being fired. or laid off, can be and often is a blessing. Finally, there has come a clearer view of reality, and the fired ones are better able to admit their weaknesses and make themselves to be more productive in a work place more natural to their instincts and abilities.
In others words, life's unfortunates can be teachable, healing moments. They can make us healthier and, yes, better human beings. Know that.