I was visiting with my 86 year old neighbor, Jack, the other day who had recently been in the hospital. Jack is a veteran who served his country in the Korean war and lost the lower part of his leg in the process. Jack is a no nonsense kind of fellow who continues to work hard and take care of himself the best he can. As we were visiting, Jack started telling me a story about the days after he lost his leg.
He had been sent back home and was in a military hospital recovering. Jack being very direct told the doctors he had to be out of there in a day because there was a girl he loved back home he had to see graduate high school. The doctors didn't think he would be ready to discharge from the hospital in that time frame because of the severity of his injury. However Jack demanded his release because there was no stopping him from making it to this event. I realized as he was telling me this story there was absolutely no "poor me" mentality. Despite losing his leg he had already moved forward focusing on what his life could be, not what he couldn't do because of losing his leg.
We sometimes get stuck thinking about what we have lost; a circle of dwelling negativity pulling us down into the depths of despair. I think this also translates to being spiritually lost. Being spiritually lost can create a myriad of feelings such as bitterness, anger, loneliness, confusion, and disconnection. I think its important we take a little closer look at this.
"Happiness doesn't depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude." - John C. Maxwell
The way we approach our lives including spiritual life is extremely important. One rule of parenting I have read about is what you focus on you get more of. If you continue to redirect and make comments about unwanted behaviors your children have, the more of them you usually get. By focusing on the positive actions you begin to see more from your child but also feel better about them yourself. I think this is a rule that can translate to our spiritual lives. If we take time to focus on God in our lives, the more of God we will see. When we have been hurt or feel lost this is hard to do. Our communities are what supports us during this time by helping us maintain a positive view through our struggles. They keep us moving and walking on our journey. However we are always the ones who get to chose how we view our world and the attitude we carry with others. Attitude impacts our decisions, relationships, lifestyle, and identity. Attitude can either push us to higher heights or sink us to the bottom of the ocean. The happiness we seek in life and in some ways our spiritual life is contingent on the mental attitude we choose.
Walking in the Valleys
When I was younger, I went through valley's in my life where I wondered where God was. I didn't know what to do and definitely didn't want to talk about it, thinking I was alone. As I have matured I have realized everyone goes through these ups and downs in their spiritual life but seldom do we talk about them. If you feel lost spiritually, or distant from God, I want to let you know it's ok. I encourage you to talk with someone about it. The most helpful times I have had is when I have opened up and shared what I am thinking and feeling with someone safe. Many times moments in the valley lead us to moments where we experience God in a powerful way. It seems we cannot have one without the other for each makes the other better.
The Rest of the Story
Holding two crutches on the side of the road Jack started north having to go from Indiana all the way to Joplin, Missouri. He made it one block before someone picked him up and gave him a ride. When the driver could go no further, Jack was let out. Just as the man was getting Jack's stuff out of his vehicle another truck pulled up and motioned for Jack to get in. Jack hopped in and the man took him most of the distance South down through Arkansas.
His ride pulled to a stop so Jack thanked him and gathered his things, stepping out of the truck. Almost immediately another man driving a red sports car saw him getting out as he was passing and pulled over. Jack got in and held onto his seat as the guy drove upward of 100mph the rest of the way through Arkansas right to Joplin, Missouri where the girls family met him.
Jack witnessed this girl graduate and then married her two weeks later. They were happily married 62 years before she passed away in 2014. Was it just dumb luck or was it possibly something else? I tend to believe it was an amazing story of someone loving and desiring something so much that it happened.
What do you desire in your life on your spiritual journey?
Who would you travel that far despite all odds to see?
When have you felt things fall into place and what did you attribute that too?
When have you went through a valley in your life?
I hope this blog has been helpful for you! If it has please go to our facebook page Emporia Community of Christ and like us. This week think about what you desire in your life and share it with someone close to you.
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The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Community of Christ. We believe individuals should be allowed to have their own opinions and be at different places in their faith journey.
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