Either / Or

I could be down about the dreadful realness of my life that is always there. I am the last of my family. I have no brothers or sisters and no biological children. Which is probably a good thing, knowing how mentally unstable my father’s family has been. So, the Brewster name is finished here. I won’t be spending Christmas with either one of my parents. My family is so distant on both sides and they all have their own families. So, I won’t ever be going to their homes. I barely know them anyway. They have all stood on the sidelines and felt sorry for the boy whose parents were too stubborn to admit that they needed help. I’m just a man whose reality is too difficult for others to take on. Oh, the thoughts that are passed around when we do see each other.

I could be down on myself for all of the horrible things that have had their consequences within my own family. The withdrawals from several substances early on within my marriage, and the resonating mental anguish of the past that somehow was taken out on those closest to me throughout the last couple of years. Those many things that have left some pretty deep wounds within my closest relationships. I could be hurt over the rejection I have experienced from people who call themselves Christians, who no longer talk to us after leaving their buildings. Those who were all loving and forgiving when we were there. I could get bent out of shape over the crazy people who I had thought were my friends, only to find out that I only was part of their lives when I benefited them somehow. I could be down on myself for having to seek help for my depression, anger and anxiety. I could really be mad at the world for making me into a big ball of exhausted madness, with undertones of suicidal thoughts, infused with hints of hopelessness. All of those things that consumed the majority of my life.

Or…

I could be grateful for the love of my wife and her family. The forgiveness I have seen her and her children gradually grant me over the past several years. The understanding of the pain inside of me. The willingness I had to seek treatment. I could be grateful for the financial stability we currently have. The goals we are achieving. The providence we both see each day through God’s mercy and grace. I could be happy to wake each morning and have the chance to make someone else feel well. I could show empathy. I could just listen to someone who needs an ear. I could hand what I have to someone who has less. I could share the Gospel with a hurting soul.

I could hold these thoughts captive that bring about the debilitating patterns of my past. I could just be present. I could change the world a little at a time by just being the better parts of who I am. Kind. Caring. Gentle. Okay with my realities. Perhaps I could wish all of those selfish people a merry Christmas and not expect anything in return?

What we choose to do with it all begins with the thought. Unless we really know what others are truly going through, where they have been, how they perceive the world, what they know or don’t know, their genetics, their infinite complexities, we should just be kind. We should just try to remember that within them is the same either / or decisions that we all face. We need to be more Christ like as we choose to go about our lives, but we also need to realize that we don’t always have that ability. We aren’t Christ, and we aren’t perfect. The wonderful thing is we are perfect in the eyes of the Lord when we rely on our Lord Yeshua. The very name means, “salvation.” Isn’t it good to know that within our times of either / or, we still have His love for us?!

Today is hard. I have choices to make. Difficult ones. I have these old ways and new ways that are always pushing and pulling me in opposite directions. We all do. As Christmas nears, let us rejoice in the glory of the One who holds us up within our either / or’s. Let us remain in Him everyday, and not just on the twenty-fifth of this month. May we lean on Him throughout each season of our lives; the seasons that bring the many ups and downs of our complexity. He truly loves us, even when we truly cannot love ourselves or others.

 

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