A Good Life
Once there was a little girl born to loving parents. They played with her, took her to church, and bought her nice toys and
dresses. But they also taught her to share with others, apologize when she was wrong, and to be responsible and hard working. As I said, they were loving parents.
The little girl grew up to be an active and out-going young person. She had lots of friends and she was liked and respected by adults. She accepted Jesus as her Savior when she was 8, but you would think she had always been a Christian because she was always helping others and reading her Bible.
She went to college and got a degree in teaching. While she was there she met a fine Christian young man whom she married after 2 years. Between jobs and marriage and church, they were both quite busy. And when children came along, they got even busier. But they didn’t mind because they had each other and they had the Lord.
The years passed. Adventures and vacations, sicknesses and tragedies, moves and job changes, all made their impressions on their lives. And I should say, also of the lives of their friends and co-workers, for no one lives without influencing others and being influenced by them.
Their children grew up just as she had, given the gifts of self-control and discipline and generosity that she had been given. Before they died, they were blessed to see their grandchildren, and even a couple great grandchildren. They died in their eighties, about 2 years apart. At the funeral, many people commented how lucky they had been just to have been their acquaintances. They lived a good life.
Not many people get to live a ‘good life’. And it should be said that there are other ‘good lives’ that can be imagined, like
selling all to be missionaries or never having children (or never marrying) but blessing others just the same. But the ‘good life’ I have just described is the classic version of what many aspire to;
not a life of greatness or fame, but merely a life of simplicity and service.
As you read the above life, you will quickly find places where your life doesn’t match the ideal. Few lives do. But have you ever noticed how, despite our setbacks, we always seem to try to return to the ideal. It’s quite irrational, even unconscious. We are compelled, as it were, to pursue peace and wholeness regardless of how many times life has slapped us down.
May I suggest that God has done this. Altho sin has corrupted our desires and twisted our perceptions. Altho addictions so easily beset us, and anger and fear and pride pull us off track. We are compelled to find our way back to the road and continue on, sometimes limping and bleeding, but continuing on just the same.
If you recognize this, as I have only recently done, it will be easier to understand and relate to people who have been driven off the course; who can be easily condemned for bad choices and bad company, who seem not to possess the character or integrity to climb out of the mess that their lives have become, yet who talk about dreams and plans and ambitions as if nothing bad had happened or that their position is not insurmountable. As I say, it’s quite irrational.
The course I have usually taken in the past was to remind people of reality and their place in it, and to recommend logical, methodical steps to climb out of the hole they have dug themselves into. But perhaps there is a better way. Perhaps problem solving (which I do instinctively) is not as effective as “dream building”.
I believe the quote, "If our dreams feel like they can come true, then we will find the courage to pursue them." If it is programmed in us to gravitate towards a good life, then the role of a counselor is to help them keep their eye on the prize, and then they themselves will find their own ways to solve their problems. Altho I must confess, denial and addiction and compulsive behavior seem beg for intervention.
This is new ground for me and so I don’t really have a lot more to say other than I hope it might be true. I’m going to be trying it out. Happily for me, as well as being a born problem solver, I’m a born encourager too.