All my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they’re here to stay. Oh, I believe…in yesterday.”
I can quote the words to this Beatles song not because I like it, and not because I know very much about it. When the song was released, I was just a girl, barely able to remember. I can quote the words to this song because my mother played it over and over as she sat at the dining room table, head in hands, whipping her sadness up like egg whites. My sister and I wandered around, wondering what was wrong with our mommy, and why she was so sad, while the song played, and played, and played, all day long.
Later, when I grew into a woman myself, I had children of my own. When I was upset over something, feeling blue and ill-used, sometimes I would drive around for hours listening to sad songs, driving by the places I used to live, whipping my misery up like those egg whites. And the sadness seemed to get bigger and bigger, like a burgeoning mountain. Angrily, I would switch stations, looking for the perfect song for wallowing. It’s hard to sob and rant while driving, but I managed somehow. And it never occurred to me that I was doing the same thing that my mother used to do—the same thing that was so painful for me as a little girl.
Was I justified in my agony? Well, I could certainly give rationale that would have convinced most people, organized in list form.
Was my mom justified? I don’t know. She probably had her own list of convincing reasons. My sister and I wouldn’t have understood much of it. We just wished our mommy felt better, and we needed care that we weren’t getting.
During my pity rides, I had family at home being neglected, too. It’s as simple as that.
I’ll bet you have your own list of reasons why you’re upset sometimes. After all, we’re all in this humanity thing together.
We do this, don’t we? Sometimes we clutch our sadness/anger/call-it-what-you-will to our chests, like a priceless possession; we wear it, like a ragged, worn-out house shoe. It’s ours, it’s comfortable, and we entitled to it. (What a treasure…)
And we can whip it up like egg whites, can’t we?
There’s only one problem with this habit: I’ve searched the scriptures, and I can’t find any justification for it.
A wise and wonderful man once said to me, as I whined out a list of miserable excuses, “What you’ve got to do is get happy.”
What he said next was equally disturbing. He said, “The Bible says that your happiness comes from God, and not from your circumstances. You’re the one who says you believe the Bible. You need to start acting like it.”
Whoa, now. I didn’t like that answer. And at that moment, I didn’t like that man.
But you know, time passed, and I thought about our discussion, which went far beyond the quotes above. Eventually, I studied the man’s books, and got to work. What I went to work on was ME. And I found that the wise, wonderful man was right. But first, I had to stop running, turn around, and face the Truth (a Person), whom I thought I already knew. I’d only run for 40 years.
There is also wise and wonderful blueberry, who once sang a song to me that I’ve never forgotten. That song said that a thankful heart is a happy heart, and I’ve found this to be true, too. And one bright day, (thanks to a friend, and not too long ago) I stumbled upon a quiet, little blog, written by a girl named Ann, who taught me to jot my thankfulness down on a list. So, I write down the things I’m thankful for, and I count them, one by one, just like the old hymn says. Isn’t that a wise and wonderful idea?
So there you have it. Well, sort of, and as well as I can explain here today. And, guess what? I don’t ride around listening to sad songs anymore.
What about you? Are you still clinging to your sadness/anger/call-it-what-you-will? Please take it from me: The house shoe stinks. It’s time to let it go.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)
Counting, one by one:
#1221: Home school basketball
#1222: A husband working on household projects
#1223: A son who will donate bag fries
#1224: Tea on the patio with a friend
#1225: Fall baseball at vintage fields
#1226: The whine of the trains
#1227: Roadside wildflowers, rolling in wind waves, even in the fall