Tuesday, April 10, 2012


From the passenger side of the car he slid first one foot, then carefully, painfully the other to the ground and pulled himself up. He reached for his cane and waited to steady himself. 
The image which remains in my mind is that of the golfer and the man riding a motorcycle, not this infirm old man. When did this happen? When did he become old? Did he just wake up one day and wham.....he moved to old age and in poor health?
I don't think so.
A young man sat in my office a few weeks ago, complaining about life not being fair. According to him, nothing ever goes right in his life. There's nothing good that ever happens to him. He is young, and I suppose from his perspective nothing is right in his world.
I gave him an exercise. One to take home with him. But before he left my office I asked him if we could role play first. He raised an eyebrow and reluctantly said "sure".
I asked him to imagine himself driving a car that was perhaps twenty years old. One with dents and every time he started it he heard backfires through the carburetor. Next I asked him to imagine not knowing who his father is. Imagine never knowing or having any influence in his life. I continued with, now imagine your mother works in a bar and brings home "uncles" every weekend. He was also supposed to imagine having eight siblings all younger who depended on him for everything. The money he made from his full time job went to feed them. I told him to imagine never going out with his friends because he was always working, but also never had "extra" money to go do anything. And besides that, after going to school all day, he worked after school everyday until closing every night. Even Saturday and Sunday. He was exhausted all the time.
My friend sat for a long time. Thinking. He drives a new truck, provided by his parents, along with insurance. His parents provide everything for him. He works a part time job and uses that money to eat out with his friends almost everyday.  
I reminded him that the person I asked him to imagine being had also sat on the same couch he was now sitting on.
One last thing I reminded him before he left that day was that he's not walking with a cane. He is young and has his life and good health before him. He can choose to be like the Israelites and wander around in the desert for forty years complaining about what he doesn't have, or he can move forward and be blessed for what he does have. 
That trip through the desert should have taken eleven days......


Carol J. Garvin said...

We never appreciate what we have until we no longer have it. What's that saying? "I complained because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet." It's so easy to take our lives (and possessions and privileges, etc.) for granted. I try to keep I Thess. 5:17-18 in front of me every day: “Pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances.”

After doing his homework I hope that young man came back with a different attitude.

Kathryn Neff Perry said...

And, I Thess 5:16 rejoice always!