Developing Positive Patterns of Adjustment to Life's Problems

We don't choose our challenges but we do choose our response.

One of my friends told me she had battled depression her whole life. She’d tried counseling and medication but nothing seemed to help. Then she discovered when she played the piano her depression lifted.

She now chooses to spend a great deal of her time playing beautiful music at rest homes.

I had another friend who was constantly upset with her husband because he wouldn’t talk to her. She was certain that if her husband really loved her, he would have long, heartfelt conversations with her. Well, her husband was a quiet man. For thirty years she was frustrated. One evening it came to a breaking point. She told him she’d had enough. If he didn’t talk to her, she was going to leave him. What did her husband do? He promptly stood up and walked out of the room. Her threats got louder as she chased him to the front door. Finally in desperation she lunged forward and hit him on the back of the head. I learned about this experience when I saw her sitting in church with her hand in a cast.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Want the truth or what I’ve been telling everybody else?” she answered.
“The truth.”
“I hit my husband and broke two fingers.”
She was obviously embarrassed. She turned to me and tearfully said, “I’ve been trying to get him to talk to me for thirty years. I just couldn’t stand it any more. I couldn’t bear to watch him walk out on me one more time.”

Now, I am also married to a quiet man, so I said, “Want some ideas?” She sheepishly nodded. “The next time you feel you have to talk to your husband so desperately you’re going to burst, go for a walk instead,” I said. “Then talk to God. Ask God if He loves you. Be still and listen until you feel God’s love. No one else can give you that kind of unconditional love. The rest of us are just practicing.” She stared at me, puzzled. “Then after you feel divine love, ask God how to love your husband.”

I promised her she would be filled with positive impressions of her husband’s strengths instead of his weaknesses. I promised her that when she finished walking, she’d feel more love for herself and her husband. I didn’t see this woman for a few months. When I saw her, her cast was off and she was holding hands with her husband while she walked down the hall at church. She winked at me.

“Thank you!” she said enthusiastically. “And I’ve lost ten pounds!”

Whether we go for a walk or play beautiful music at rest homes, positive patterns of adjustment to life's difficulties can and will give us more joy in our mortal journey. Carefully chosen personal coping techniques give us tools to live with power, dignity and energy.

We’re all going to meet with frustrations and pain. The important thing is what we do when faced with problems like financial failure, scandal, divorce, abuse, death, way-ward children, chronic ill-health issues, old age and any other of a million problems or challenges. Everyone does something. Some people turn into hermits. Others turn to drugs, sickness or chronic victim-hood.

We can choose to turn to God, learn about the nature of true love, hope and patience and press forward with gratitude. The scriptures refer to this as enduring to the end – to which I add, enduring well to the end.

1 comment:

April said...

Well said, mom! Life is a constant adjustment- I hope I can be one of those ladies who endures well!