Count your many blessings

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By MATT CHAPPELL

When I read last week’s article in the Keizertimes about depression, it made me pause and think about the things that are really important in life. Whatever the cause of depression, we must always remember that where there is breath, there is hope. I myself am familiar with hardships, in fact it’s easy at some point in our lives to look back over life and struggle to see any good  through the many disappointments that come our way. This is quite common as you get older, life is short and full of trouble.

It is very common to tell everyone that things are going well, and struggle to keep up appearances in a  world with little sympathy. This life is a workshop, and God works in ways that we do not understand. We live in a world where you’re not supposed to be happy, because if your happy, someone else is suffering. At the same time, everything is supposed to be positive, and the current expression for this is “It’s all good.” I don’t know what kind of world people think they are living in, but in my world this is often—but not all always—called denial. This simply means that someone has lost touch with reality, and react against any negativity that would cause their problems to surface. So it is with our society in general. The world is a very sensitive place to live, and if you are going to survive, you have to learn to develop thick skin.

We hear much talk about hate speech, I’m not always sure where people are coming from. For example, many children do  not want to be told how to live their lives, their parents are considered out of date and only wanting to drag them down and take away their happiness. This is the difference between a child and a mature adult with life experience to back them up. Most of the problems in our society began at home and go back several generations. Many people are disappointed and angry over their own lives, and when they begin to bury their feelings, and hide themselves from everybody they think have it all together, there inner feelings have nowhere to go but up, and when that happens, you have an increase in violence and rage that we see going on in our world today.

Now I am well acquainted with disabilities, I also have had the honor of being a caregiver for seniors as well. I used to go with my dad, when he was alive and in better health, to retirement and nursing homes, where we would play music and sing favorite music from the past. I spent many years myself, sitting with the parents of many of Keizer’s families as they were lying on their death beds, many of them for the most part forgotten about and left there by themselves. As I spent time, listening and praying with them, trying to give them a little bit of hope, I learned about the importance of family, and the common struggles and concerns which often go unheard. Depression is a common ailment in older age, this is something that all generations can identify with, disappointments come to all of us eventually.

There is no answer for why there is suffering in the world, other then that the very one who we often seek to blame, is the only one that loves us in ways that we will never understand, and that’s God Himself. My grandmother had a  favorite saying that is especially popular throughout the southern Bible Belt. She would always say, “It all comes out in the wash.”  We may not understand things now, things may not be the way that we would have them be, but just like tapestry, we will one day look back on our lives and come to appreciate the value of our lives in ways that we were never able to understand on our own. Our lives hold more value then what we could ever realize. Whether it be Robin Williams, or the unknown soldier suffering and dying in a strange and foreign land there is an all seeing eye who beholds the sparrow when it falls from the sky, and knew us each intimately before we were ever in our mothers womb, and that He is the only one who has been there and truly cared for all of us all along.

In closing, ponder the words of an old hymn which resonates both now more then ever: “Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

Get off your phone and computers, away from your thousands of friends, listen and spend time with your family before it’s too late. Make it count.

(Matt Chappell lives in Keizer.)

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