By Joe Rector
The older I grow, the more I come to realize that life resembles a ride on the biggest roller coaster in existence, and it’s a ride that travels much too fast for my taste. Those rides that make stomachs rise to throats and frazzle nerves aren’t things I find particularly fun; more my style is a slow moving boat on a waterway that flows through an amusement park’s grounds. Nevertheless, as long as folks take breath on this planet, they’ll encounter the highs and lows that come with each day. The ways they handle those lows that come determine what kind of lives they will have.
We all will face disappointments in life. They occur when events don’t match expectations. Yep, we often set ourselves up for disappointments when we are unrealistic about life. Dreaming is not a bad thing. Thoureau stated, “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.” He then added, “Now put the foundations under them.” Too often we skip that second part and then wonder why things didn’t work out.
Sometimes our disappointments are the end results of losses. We might lose jobs that provided us with the security we need in life. We go from the happiness of employment and the benefits it brings to the fear of uncertainty. Maybe we lost the job because of re-organization of a company. It might have occurred due to poor performance, or perhaps office politics lowered the boom as a higher-up chose us to take the fall for his incompetence.
The loss of a loved one through death or divorce can drop us to our knees. We wonder what could have been done to stop our partners from leaving. We punish ourselves for not spending enough time with the person who has passed. Many people cry out in anger and simply ask “Why?” The height of frustration swallows us when no answer comes.
One action during the down times is to make every effort to correct problems. An individual can look to himself for answers of how he contributed to the situation. That self-examination might lead to the discovery that actions or attitudes contributed to the negative results. If that’s the case, he must decide if a personal change is worthwhile.
Sometimes, a person investigates those downturns in life too much. He wonders why things happen; he worries that something wrong within himself has caused the problem. Fretting over disappointments or events in uncontrollable situations accomplishes nothing. At some point, beating up oneself is unproductive and excessive.
The truth of the matter is that at times there is nothing any of us can do to “fix it.” Our abilities to heal, mend, or understand run out. It is at those moments that we can look outside ourselves. We can call on a power greater than we are. Yes, our prayers go up for help or understanding. Then we turn loose of those things completely. That’s the hard part. We just can’t stand not being in control, even if we can do nothing to change things. But if we step out and take that leap of faith, we might just be surprised how things turn out.
The good lord wants the best for all his children. He will shoulder the unbearable; He will take on the worry; He will lay out a new path that is better. Our jobs are to simply get out of His way. That means waiting for His time, not our own. Doing so might be the most difficult task. When that brick wall of conflict appears, we surely can’t run through it, so why not let it go?
No, I don’t mean to preach. It’s just that in the last few years, I’ve faced such things, and I’ve eventually asked for help with them. It came in ways that I didn’t expect, and I’m grateful. My roller coaster ride then became a smoother journey.