I’ve had my eye on several support groups now for quite a while. I’ll be very forthcoming with you about it. There are things I’d very much like to change for the positive about my life. I have thought at different times in my life, and many recently, that it would be hard for somebody who isn’t in my position, or hadn’t walked in my actual shoes, to truly relate to what ails me. In essence, I was under the impression that for a fat middle aged white guy who owned a small business in a rural midwestern area that the only person capable of grasping my concerns was another fat middle aged white guy who owned a small business in a rural midwestern area.
So… I started considering ‘support groups’ that catered to my demographic as it were. I looked at actual ‘sit down’ groups structured like what you’d expect to see at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I looked at forums and groups that sounded like me. I also looked into facebook groups and pages dedicated to the kinds of issues I appeared to be facing. You know what I found in large part? All three of those options I considered, read, attended, and reflected upon seemed to actually promote more of the same poor decisions that I had already been making. Sure, they were caring and very compassionate, but there were nearly no answers for how to move onward and upward. Honest to goodness the overwhelming majority were full blown pity parties. I know that sounds harsh. I really do. I get it. Some things are tough to handle, but people, please. You have to set aside your emotions for a brief moment and ask yourself if you’re headed towards recovery, salvation, and a closer walk with Him. If you can’t answer those things honestly and quickly, you’re probably in the wrong spot.
I don’t want anyone here to think I’m suggesting that a support structure like AA doesn’t do tremendous good. I wouldn’t for a moment tell you I think that AA is a place to go get drunk. Not at all. That’s not what I’m implying. But for the questions I was having with weight, lack of direction intermittently, etc. all I found were places to wallow about it. The worst of which were the facebook groups. There were a million soft edged memes describing a person’s hurt and pain, and they did that exceedingly well. But there were nearly zero that mentioned how to deal with the pain, break away from the struggle, and move past a low point in your life. It was as if the mire and muck having been well fleshed out, was enough. …And maybe that’s where you start. …But I can assure you if you don’t roll the dice on the Monopoly board, you will never pass “Go” and collect $200…
I came to this realization much slower than I’m proud to admit. Honestly I hadn’t actually noticed it in my own scenario. Instead, it donned on me after taking notice of a dear friend’s facebook postings. My wife and I’s very best friend’s daughter, Mira, who sits beside the Lord as we speak and is the chief architect and inspiration for this blog, is constantly on our minds. Mira’s mom posts or shares memes and inspirational photos routinely. They are touching and often sorrowful, but it wasn’t until I noticed the trend that I became alarmed. I chose one of the grieving mother’s facebook groups randomly to check out and below are the first five pics that came up in order:
Every one of the pics above is touching and helps put a voice to a feeling. I have to believe somewhere inside us that’s necessary. How long and how often are my contentions though. As I glanced down through the 487 pics that particular fb group had of timeline photos, guess how many dealt with healing? 6… Don’t latch onto the wrong takeaways from this blog entry. Just like I’m not saying AA isn’t helpful, I have no doubt there are creature comforts and ancillary benefits to a page like this, especially for those mom’s who are continually suffering things I can’t possibly understand. However… You don’t have to suffer a loss or understand with genuine empathy in order to know healing is necessary and a prerequisite for quality living.
We don’t have to look far at all for really straight forward scripture on this kind of question:
Psalm 34:18 – The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 55:22 – Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
Psalm 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Psalms and Proverbs are chocked full of ‘one-liner’ snippets that you can memorize and they stay with you. They’re often universal where many other pieces, especially when they’re letters like those from Paul in the New Testament, are wise to be taken into proper context concerning the remainder of the book, chapter, and subsequent verses. Yet, there are no pieces of bad scripture.
It took me a while to really notice it, but the ‘support’ groups I sought didn’t really seem to do much more than support my current position. That really wasn’t what I was looking for, and it certainly wasn’t what I needed or deserved in order to heal and do well by myself. While I might have thought that was the best I could muster at the time, what I really needed was healing with a small dose of understanding. I think I’m better to attain that from the Word, good teachers of the Word, and friends and family deeply rooted in Biblical practice. I feel better, am more relaxed, and have better responses and understanding of the things thrust upon me when I’m centered in my Faith.
I don’t want anyone to think for a moment there aren’t needs and distinct advantages offered by groups, support mechanisms, forums, etc. There are. But we should define what we expect to attain before we search for those supports. Should we do that, those rooted in Faith that understand the Higher Power associated with our daily lives will likely be the most healthy for us on every level. Otherwise you risk getting more of what you’ve got, and we know that doesn’t work or you wouldn’t have been searching to begin with would you?
We should seek salt and light. Be those my friends…