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7.26.2011

DO GOODING

I love the scene in the movie, "What About Bob", where Bob (Bill Murray), an almost paralyzed multi-phobic schizo, full of bondage issues patient has driven his therapist crazy.  The therapist, Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss), in a final attempt to get rid of his clingy patient Bob, takes him to the woods and ties him up, strapping a cooler of tree stump explosives to him.  Bob falsely perceives it as a sort of "death therapy" designed, he thinks, to help him get untied from the bondage issues that tie him down.  Sometimes it takes extreme measures or moments in our lives for us to clearly see us - for us to view truth that has been there all along.  We just aren't always ready at earlier times are we:)  Years ago, as a very young pastor's wife, I struggled with a particular bondage issue in my own life.  My issue was thinking I could somehow, by my words or actions change a heart, a situation or ultimately a person.  I poured huge amounts of time and energy in to the lives of people.  It could have been almost an addiction of sorts.  Definitely not healthy or a right view of our role in the change of others.  Then, I turned 30.  At 30 years of age I had an emotional and physical breakdown.  It caused me to look inward for more than a fleeting moment.  I was startled and disgusted at what I saw in me.  I had spent great amounts of time and energy outwardly so as not to focus on the choices I had made, the unhappy marriage I was in - which I couldn't seem to change.  It is very hard and extremely frightening to face ourselves - to go to those dark rooms in our hearts and minds.  Eventually I faced down the anger that I held with myself in realizing my life was the result of choices I made - no one elses but mine -both in regards to my own decisions, and my responses to other's choices.  I cried for 3 or 4 full days, literally not really getting out of bed.  When I did finally get up, I sat on the couch of a counselor to set some of my crazy loose.  Crazy you know comes out in chunks, never all at once, or at one time only in our lives.  We have moments of epiphany throughout our lives.  This was one of them for me.  From that pain forward I let that bondage issue go.  No more did I think I could fix anyone, a situation or someone's heart.  It continues to be freeing - simply to love and care for those struggling or hurt or weary but know that change of them or their situation is not in my control.  I suppose if I truly had the power to change situations, hearts or people, and did, then I would arrogantly place myself above God.  He too has the power, but withholds it allowing us to figure it out and realize we need help.  He gives us a choice to be changed or not, even though he knows what would be best. Sometimes He doesn't intervene but lets this world's laws of nature and humanity take effect.  He is God and knows best.  People's lives often don't make sense to me - either the choices they make or the pain that undeservedly they are experiencing (myself included in that statement as a "people" too).  Nothing I do can change that either.  I can though step aside and just hold out a cool cup of water and pray - not drawing attention to my care, or getting myself ahead of them, or giving trite or excessive words of encouragement that ultimately showcase me not them.  I think that's why Jesus warns us of deeds done where others see them.  Or praying out loud to be heard by others.  We are a tool, a drink, a respite - but we are not God. 

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