I have a problem and it's something that deeply concerns and troubles me.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to go into detail about it here. This isn’t Facebook or Twitter or “Maury.” It’s a newspaper column, and my personal issues don’t have much relevance for a general audience.
At least, not this week. But come back next week when I’ll be writing about my daughter Beth’s propensity for baking treats when she is pregnant. I’ve already got the headline: “When the going gets tough, the tough get baked.”
Or something like that.
For the purposes of this column we’ll just say I have a problem and leave it at that. Except to say that it’s a problem that kept me up most of the night, fretting, stewing and praying. And I don’t mind telling you that there was some crying involved. Or is that WTMPI (way too much personal information)?
Anyway, I spent a big part of the next morning pacing in my room, sternly lecturing the people who needed to be lectured even though they weren’t actually there with me. (I may very well be the “air talk” king of the world. I have given some truly memorable sermons while walking behind my lawn mower, for example. My family is used to it — although, truth be told, they all kind of think I’m a pronoun short of a sentence.)
My wife, Anita, and I had a chance to talk about it and she had some excellent thoughts, as she always does. We had pretty much settled on a course of action in order to deal with the problem, but as the morning progressed I continued to feel uneasy about it. I kept waiting for that feeling to come. You know, the peaceful calm you feel when you know the decision you’ve made is the correct one, regardless of how things turn out.
I didn’t feel that. Not even a little bit. Instead, I had the gnawing feeling that my planned solution was only going to make things worse. And that despite my best intentions, this would eventually lead to more sleepless, tearful, prayerful nights and other unknown and unintended consequences — for me, and for others. It was like being in some kind of "shocknado," with all of this trauma swirling around me, and no real solutions to which I could cling.
Thankfully, there are people in my life to whom I can turn at such times. I recently reached out to one of them. He understood my concerns. He listened to my ranting and carefully considered what I planned to do. And then he ripped my plan apart, offering instead a completely different way of approaching the problem.
And now I’m feeling much better. Anita and I have talked about it, and we’re going to go with this new plan because, well, it’s better than the old one. I know this because I’m feeling that peace I was talking about — calm and comfortable and ready for a good night’s sleep.
I hope you have people like that in your life, too — people to whom you can turn for honest reactions and fresh perspectives.
“We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world,” said 19th century Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. “And the best thing we can find in our travels is an honest friend.”
Finding such friends — and being that kind of friend to others — can truly make all the difference. For, as Albert Schweitzer pointed out, “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
Even in the middle of "shocknado."
To read more by Joseph B. Walker, visit josephbwalker.com. Twitter: JoeWalkerSr
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