Bill: Swan: Pam and I are working on a proposal for a new book on midlife that will include both men and women in our modern context.
Swan: Bill - that will be great, a modern context is really needed. A couple years back we had a few people in chat that would make comments like "Jim's books were great back then, but..." We would try to tell them that MLC doesn't really change, society does, but if they would read the material they would see that foundation is still relevant. So a book that is more modern and includes both men and women could really be what many are looking for. My opinion is that personal experience is the best wisdom anyone could have, I am glad people like Pam, you, Jim and Sally share that, it helps so much. I thought I was going crazy and everything was falling apart (and I am a compartmental person), just knowing that others had gone through it and sharing it gave me some insight that guided me to the path I am now on.
Bill: All: It is good to remind ourselves that everyone lives out their view of themselves. Someone who believes they are valuable, loving, productive and worthwhile will invest in relationships and pursue strong goals. Someone who believes they are a victim, have been ripped off by life, deserves pain, etc. will be underproductive and will pursue chaotic goals. This is why a close walk with Jesus is so helpful. Embracing the fact that we are God's children will profoundly impact our behavior.
Dogwood: Bill. I recognize that I tend to always need to have family around me, and probably need to learn to have God alone, that is so hard to learn
Bill: Dogwood: In this area, I think balance is a key. When Adam was in the garden, he appeared to have everything he needed. The garden was beautiful and needed purposeful work applied to it to keep it in shape. God was available in person to talk with at any time. And yet, God said it was not good for man to be alone. God exists in relationship (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and we are made in His image. Therefore, relationships matter to us and complete the picture. We can, however, easily become dependent on others to meet the needs only God can fill. My youngest son likes to say, "We get our life from God but we learn how to do life from others."
Little Magpie: Swan/Bill - yes, she is thinking about seeing a counselor on campus, she didn't want to hear suggestions about bible reading or praise song singing. She did see my new counselor one session with me before she left as my counselor said she was open to it
Bill: Little Magpie: With your YD, I would also add that your acceptance is probably the strongest gift you can give her. We so often want to share our opinions and advice because we care so much about them and their growth. It can easily sound like criticism when anxiety is driving. Accepting them can feel like we are conceding or endorsing what they are doing but in reality it creates an environment of growth.
Little Magpie: Bill - Thanks. He is helping to drive there. Swan/Bill - How do you recognize the attacks??
Bill: Little Magpie: Great question. John 8:44 says Satan is the father of lies. The attacks always come in the form of lies. They are usually mixed with some truth since the best way to deceive people is to tell them a little truth and then cap it off with a lie. We see the process play out in Matthew 4 where Jesus was tempted by the devil. Recognizing the attacks means being able to discern when we are being confronted with lies. To do that we have to be well versed in the Bible and "up to date" in verbally renouncing what is false and affirming what is true.
Little Magpie: Bill - I have been praying and trying to take my mind captive. I had to excuse myself from a meeting because the anxiety was getting to me as they were talking about accidents and near accidents. I took a few moments to pray and cry a little.
Bill: All: Another tool God has given us is grieving. Whenever we lose (whether it is a loved one, a cherished opportunity, valued asset or dream of the heart) we get flooded with emotions. Grieving is the process of releasing the emotional energy that builds up through crying, laughing, sadness, anger, etc. The key to grieving is to give permission to let the emotions out. The ancient Jews were much better at this than we are in the modern west. They used to sit in ashes, tear their clothes, weep and wail. They didn't do it forever but they did it long enough to release the emotions that go along with loss (because God didn't originally design us to lose).
Swan: Little Magpie - Are you still seeing the counselor? Does she have any recommendations for how to reduce stress. Sometimes getting a good workout, taking a long calming walk or putting on Christian music and doing something that relaxes you. I know you cannot control the others and they will do what they will, but at least you might be able to reduce you stress leaves.
Little Magpie: Swan- I just started with a new one and yes, my Anxiety and PTSD are high points on what we are going to be focusing on and making friends.
Little Magpie: Bill and Swan- I recently noticed that both my H and I take things personally and if I didn't clarify he thinks I'm telling him that he messed up or did something wrong because he didn't do something the way I had perceived it to be done
Bill: Little Magpie: this stuff happens because your hearts are connected. You have an influence on each other that is stronger than anyone else in your life. In marriage, we need to protect each other's hearts more than we need to pass on the information.
Swan: Bill - At one point my husband was going on about being all alone, that no one loves or cares about him and that is when I, well everyone in the house heard their conversation. My son raised his voice and told my husband that was a lie, there are people that love and care about him down here, he should have taken the job with the old company he had been offered a few months back, he made his choice to stay where he is and to be away from his family, so stop whining. I did tell my son later that wasn't the best way to handle his dad, he is most likely dealing with depression. My son agreed, but said he is just fed up and then told me he would give it a couple days and reach out to his dad again, but will cut any self pity conversations. I don't know what has happened since, I try not to ask and figure son will tell me if there is something I need to know.
Bill: Swan: It seems to me your son is doing just fine. I think he has room to be confrontational with his dad in short spurts. He seems to truly love his dad and his willingness to reach out in a couple of days is impressive. It is fascinating how his family instinctively tries to get you to speak for him even now.
Swan: Bill - Sadly many consider people to be throw away, I have seen parents give up and throw children out of their homes (some baffled me because the kids were pretty good kids), husbands and wives throw their spouse away (some completely through divorce, others partly by living apart together) and then we throw our parents away. There were so many of the ladies at the home that had living children and grandchildren, but never had visitors, it was like they were brought to the home and forgotten. Their children paid the fees, but just didn't visit. Phone calls were also rare or never happened. It was so sad, but at least they had each other and the staff for company.
Bill: Swan: I agree. It is very sad. For personal convenience, we discard people who add great value to our lives because they are harder to deal with than we want them to be. It surprises me because we are all going to grow old (with exceptions of course) and very few of us do well alone. Human nature is crazy though.
Little Magpie: Swan - Thank you. Bill - how, How to win friends and influence people or what?? How do I learn how to build friendships?
Bill: Little Magpie: You learn one step at a time. There are many avenues. You can learn from books or presentations focused on friendship building. You can seek out a mentor who is already good at this and courageously ask her to teach you what she knows. You can insert yourself into situations that will require you to turn the gift into skills (bible studies, service organizations like you and Swan have been talking about, support groups with a long-term commitment, etc.). The key is to practice with no exit strategy until you gain a level of comfort.