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Sonntag, 14. Oktober 2012

Making Sense When Life Doesn't

Making Sense When Life Doesn't

An Interview with Cecil Murphey, Author of Making Sense When Life Doesn’t
Making Sense When Life Doesn't by Cecil Murphey
Q: You open Making Sense When Life Doesn't with the concept that life is like cleaning the house. Explain what you mean by that.
We get the house cleaned and it looks quite nice. It doesn't stay that way. The tendency is to go back to our careless or hurried lifestyle and the same habits. Before long, the house is messy again.
That's how life works. We fret and struggle to clean up our current mess, assuming that once we accomplish that feat, it won't happen again. But it will. Unless we make changes, we'll go back to the same lifestyle.
Q: What are the three or four ways we can respond to crisis?
We always have choices even if we think we don't.
  1. We can do the throwing-our-hands-in-the air bit that says we give up.
  2. We can complain about the way things used to be. Like the children of Israel in the wilderness, we tend to forget the negatives of the past and our world seemed much better than it is in the present. We cry out, "This is the worst time of my life." That attitude makes us immobile and often a little bitter. "It's not supposed to be this way," is the way we start our conversations.
  3. We can move forward—grudgingly. We change because we've been forced to do so, but we resent the situation and often the people involved.
  4. We can see this as an adventure, a new way of life. We can tell ourselves, “This can be the best time of my life. I can try things I wanted to do but never did. I can learn new things and enjoy life even more.”
Q: It has been said that the only constant in life is change. Why is that such an important truth that we need to face?
We tend to think that if we can just push beyond this present, pervasive situation, life will be "normal" once again. Life doesn't work that way. Living means moving from one problem to the next.
If we accept that we'll always face opposition and grow in the process, we aren't overwhelmed when the next eruption of life takes place.
We learn to say, "This is how life works."
Cecil Murphey, author of Making Sense When Life Doesn't
Q: You say you're not a person who likes to give advice, especially when people are hurting. Why not?
I suppose I like to give advice, but I avoid it. When people hurt or are going through difficult places, they don't need my advice. They need my support.
Through my own experiences, I realized people quickly gave me advice, quoted Bible verses, reminded me that God was with me, or told me how good life would be afterward. Their words didn't help; I already knew that. I also realized their words often came from their own discomfort and not from great wisdom.
What I needed—and what I want to offer others—is my concern. I don't have to give them answers.
Even if they ask questions, what they really need is for someone to show they care. I want to be with them while they figure out their own answers.
Q: Is it really okay for people to get angry or feel sorry for themselves when something bad happens? Is there a time limit for that kind of negative emotion?
Is it okay? It had better be because that's a natural reaction when life falls apart. That means we're aware of the seriousness of our situation. Not only is it all right, but it's important. Those feelings help us assess where we are. After that, we can begin to solve our issues.
Is there a time limit? We're all different. Some of us can hit the bottom and bounce up quickly. Others move slowly.
After the death of our son-in-law, it took our daughter three years before I felt she had decided to live again. (They had known each other since they were fourteen years old.)
Q: In one chapter, you say that only the strong can forgive. Isn’t that contrary to what society leads us to believe?
It's not natural or easy for most of us to admit our mistakes. But once we face our own shortcomings, we can accept others when they fail or don't live up to their highest standards.
We need a certain level of self-acceptance before we can forgive others. We don't have to wait for others to change, we can change and that means we can forgive.
Once I realized that God loves me, forgives me, and accepts me as I am—that took years for me to grasp inwardly—I understood the concept of grace. I know how it feels to be forgiven. I realized that Jesus Christ saw my motives and not just my actions. He knew my weaknesses and my blind spots. Because I know those things about myself and the overwhelming love of God, I can pass that grace or forgiveness on to others.
Too often I hear people say things like, "I don't forgive. I get even." Such an attitude weighs on our souls, and prevents our living in contentment.
Q: Explain what you mean by “letting go is vital to grabbing hold.”
Too many want to feel safe, so they grasp what they have. They want life to be the way it was (at least the good part) and they constantly look backward. If they're going to go forward, they have to release their past and say, "That's the way it was then. I'm now moving ahead."
When we do that, we're ready to grab hold and move forward. We can't appreciate what we have now if we constantly compare it to the way it used to be, especially if we've been forced to leave the old.
Q: One thing you had trouble understanding at first was the idea that we need the people who make our lives more difficult. Most of us likely have the same problem. Why do we need our enemies?
Our enemies force us to examine ourselves. They tell us things our good friends won't. Even if they exaggerate or are mistaken, we still need to ponder their accusations.
They push us to look at what I call the unexamined parts of our lives.

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