8 May 13
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
After 2009, our family adopted as our motto a simple phrase, “Never give up.” There were several opportunities in our testimony where we could have given up. We could have given up on our marriage. We could have given up on God. Honestly, I came close to giving up my life.
If Cristy had given up on me and our marriage, not one person would have found fault in her for that, not even myself. Secular society would have welcomed us back into the fold if we had given up on God. And there were quite a few that would not have shed a tear had I given up on life itself. But we didn’t do that then, and I am not about to start doing that now.
I run into brick walls sometimes (figuratively, it’s not a literal hobby or anything). I get down, or I just don’t know what to do to move forward. I stall out like a plane that just doesn’t have enough push to get any higher. And sometimes that stall is hard to pull out of. Sometimes that ground comes rushing up so fast it’s mesmerizing. I know what to do when these times come up. I should call one of my shield brothers, like Bill or Dale or Chris or Mike or Charlie. I should talk about it with my mentor Bob. I should dive into scripture and prayer. I should journal. I know these things, but I have a definite stubborn streak in me. C’mon men! Most of you know what I’m talking about. We are supposed to self-sufficient, we don’t need anybody to tell us how to get out of a slump, right? Naw, pour a shot of whiskey, light up a cigar and be a Man! At least, that’s the bill of goods we’ve been sold by movies and society. I grew up on John Wayne and Clint Eastwood and I never once saw Rooster Cogburn or The Man With No Name ask for help. Heck, The Man With No Name didn’t say much of anything.
But it takes a while to get it through our thick man-skulls that life is not a movie. And the old saying that “a man is not an island” is so very true. Trying to live up to that nonsense didn’t work out too well for me the first time, so why do I keep trying to go back there? Ego, pride, stubbornness? I don’t know, but it’s hard to do all those other things, especially journaling. That is one of the reasons I committed to doing this every night. Given the choice, I’d much rather phone a friend for the answer. And there are times I will still do that, a friend phoned me last night and we ended up talking over everything that’s going on, and that was a big help too. But this journaling stuff seems silly at first. I’m a MAN! Wattaya mean you want me to keep a diary??
But it works. There is something about seeing the daily drek in print that helps me get it out and look at it objectively. Have you ever noticed that you can give your friends advice about anything all day long but you can’t figure out anything for yourself no matter how long you ponder it while watching football? AHA!
But seriously, once you get this stuff down, then you can address it as if it were a friend coming to you for help. It’s no longer stuck in your head like molasses, getting all over and sticking to everything to the point that you can’t tell where you are. After it’s down on paper, then you can begin to give yourself some advice. I still recommend letting your support group and others know because you can never go wrong seeking counsel among your brethren and their prayer is always welcome.
Now I have to put my words into practice on a regular basis.