Monday, March 29, 2010

Gotta LoveThose Challenges

A year ago my brother and his wife moved in with me since he hadn’t worked regularly in several years. Even more, his wife’s health is poor it not only affects his work (she has several appointments a month with different doctors), her medical bills are relentless.

My brother is very gentle and sweet and I count it a great blessing to get to know him again. It’s been more difficult to find the blessing in having his wife with me. I have a fairly loose definition of clean; my sister-in-law’s OCD manifests itself in her very rigid definition of clean. I like my space and solitude; she needs a lot of attention, to the point of insisting my brother drop whatever he’s doing and do what she wants when she wants it. I’ve found myself very resentful of her demands and needs, although she didn’t choose her challenges and I can’t say that I would handle her life and challenges any better that she does, if I were in her place.

Still….having her in my life, in my home, is one of the most difficult challenges I’ve had in life. Dealing with difficult people at work, at church, in my community—there have been some extremely painful times when I didn’t know how to deal with certain situations and people. I can’t say my current situation is any worse than the worst of them, but it certainly has been trying.

One night, for example, I was so upset as I went to bed I found my mind having one conversation after another with my s-i-l about something she had done. I decided to sing a hymn to myself. When the hymn ended, the conversation started up again. So I sang another hymn. Afterward, the conversation was back. I went through about 10 hymns and 6 or 7 Primary songs. Finally I got up and since my brother was up I spoke with him. The next day I was able to resolve the situation with only a few words that in no way resembled my internal conversation the night before.

One day I received some completely unexpected help. I had taken my s-i-l to get her hair done, and I decided to wait for her in a nearby library where I came across a book by Karen Casey called Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow. It was exactly what I needed. Since that day several thoughts have stayed with me:

1. Everything, and everyone, is in our life for a reason.
2. We can control input but not outcome. (my behavior, not hers)
3. We are responsible for making the effort, nothing more.
4. We can make the decision to accept all situations as opportunities to include God in our lives, then wait for the change in our perception that will certainly come.
5. If we allow God to handle what is happening and to comfort us at the same time, we will become aware that all experiences are for our good; they are fragments of a bigger picture, and the part each person plays is necessary.

Some days are easier than others; other times I feel like I’ve made a few steps forward and several backwards. I confess I look forward to remembering this experience long after it is past and knowing I learned from it but it’s over. No doubt by then I’ll have some other challenge to keep me growing.

1 comment:

Cheri J. Crane said...

The book you mentioned sounds intriguing. I've been reading a similar tome entitled: "Remembering Wholeness," by Carol Tuttle. Like the book you mentioned, it offers great insights in coping with trials.

We truly live in challenging times. You are a great example to all of us of perseverance. =)