Someone Once Told Me . . .
I remembered today something someone told me many years ago. At the the time I heard it, the words meant something to me, but not all that they should have...it was one of those those things that needed maturity to fully understand the wisdom of it. Now, as I remember the words of this woman, I see they were the most perfect gift a person can give a young person.
This woman and I worked together and although her life had not been perfect, she was happy, content and seemed to understand the very workings of life. She had a gift for wisdom, and this deep abiding joy that was not silly or preachy or make you want to say "get real". She was serene.
She told me this one morning... "If I were to tell you a way to nearly guarantee you have a life void of the problems of divorce, violence, rebellious children, and discontentment, would you be interested ?" I remember saying to her, "of course, but I can't see how you can do that, crazy people are everywhere and even if you do things right, people can mess up what you have simply by being an outside influence. "
Then she told me ...."If you do every single thing in your life, thinking about what God wants for you, before thinking about what YOU want, things just work out better." At that point I felt a sermon coming on and wanted to shut down, only she saw that and simply called me on my attitude in the sweetest way. I didn't really want to hear about the guarantee because it meant giving up my own plans, my own idea of fun, my own agenda.
She also told me that day she had been praying three times a day for me and this man at the hospital to be married. I had no idea who she was talking about but it kinda made me look around that week at who it might be.
This dear woman's conversation continued in installments for the next few weeks.
"It's like following a recipe dear". "Follow the instructions, use the right ingredients and you get something wonderful, put in what you want, how much of what you want, a little less, a little more and then its not so good."
It starts early on in life, this recipe...planning the ingredients, having them ready. Choose the right person to marry. Have the same goals. Have a heart filled with love and compassion, not selfishness or deceit. Do not criticize. A very harmful thing is to talk bad about your minister, your family, your children, or even the weather in front of your children. Yes, even the weather...it can develop in to lots of "I hate this or that". Bear with one another, even in the family. What you put in, is what you get out. And know at my age, I can see the wisdom about a little bit of leaven.....bringing in television shows, Internet misuse, friends without the same vision for life can ruin all the work you have done with your family. You cannot restore innocence once its lost. Now even if you do all the "things" right, there is still no guarantee it will turn out right, there is more, something much more. I have known many plain families that never miss church, never talk badly about others, have a sense of community, stay free from negative influences in the world, sing happy songs, pray, and dress to honor God, but they never show love, never hug one another, never seek out the root of a child's sadness or set an example as a happy, love one another couple, in those families they often suffer later from children that seek that love from the world or from the first person that pays them any attention. As 1 Corinthians 13 talks about, without love we are only noisy gongs.
These days we spend so much time reading about, listening to information on maintaining good health to ensure a quality life. We have all heard that its about choices, about taking care of our bodies early on and then throughout life. We make sacrifices to live healthy. Same thing for having a good, happy, stay away from un-necessary problem life. If you don't want to be bailing your child out of jail, find drugs in their rooms, see them marry only to divorce later on down the road, then follow the recipe given to us. No its not a 100% guarantee, but its pretty close. And pretty close is far better than leaving it all up to chance.
All that this dear lady told me was true. I didn't figure that out then, only now, years later, experience under my belt, been there done that sort of thing, has shown me that what she said was pure honest wisdom. By the way, that man she prayed I would marry, was Emery !
It might be hard to not walk the road most travelled, it might even make you a bit odd, but go the extra mile raising your family and follow the recipes in the "good book" for a happy family life, not perfect or free from all problems but certainly one that would make a boring television series !