Hello. Welcome to this homepage. I am 44 years old and have a large family - ten of us, in fact. Life has had many ups and downs for me. Sometimes it has felt as though I was going through hell itself. There have been times of great blackness and desperation especially when I couldn't see any light at the end of the tunnel and it seemed as though I was trapped forever in a sea of darkness. But I'm still here - I've survived. And I have found much happiness since.
No two people experience exactly the same things but when we feel cut off, alone and with no-one to turn too, a special fellowship of understanding develops between those who have suffered. There is, for example, this tremendous bond of comradeship that exists between those who have been through the horrors of war. People with, or who have had, drink problems find solace and mutual comfort in organisations such as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). Many groups, societies and organisations exist for mutual support, and this is good. Sometimes, though, our problems may seem so unusual or bizzare that we feel we can't turn to anyone for help because we don't believe they can (or want to) understand.
Over the years I have met many kinds of desperate person - there is tragedy, it seems, in almost every street and hamlet.
There's a true story of a Chinese lady who experienced a terrible tragedy in her life and went to a wise man for comfort and advice. She thought it unfair that she, who had always lived a good life, had experienced such pain and wanted to know why she had apparently been singled out to suffer. No matter what she did, she felt a resentment towards God and towards life.
"What do I do?" she bemoaned.
The wise man paused a while to think but gave no answer at first.
"Do you really want an answer to your question?" he asked her, looking intently into her eyes.
"Yes!" she cried. "Of course I do!"
"Then," replied the sage, "I will tell you. But before I do, you must find me three households where no tragedy or suffering has been known."
Puzzled, the woman readily accepted his offer, fully expecting to back in a matter of hours. So she went back into town and began knocking on the doors of the houses and asked if any household had been free of suffering.
Some days later she returned to the wise man. "Well," he asked, "what have you discovered?"
"I have discovered," the woman replied meekly, that there is not one household where there has not been some form of suffering. I thought I was alone in the world. I am not. I'm sorry. Now I see that my problem is everyone else's problem. Thank you for opening my eyes."
I do not know what your trials and sufferings have been but this much I do know: you are by no means alone. Before I address the question of solutions it is first vitally important to realise this truth:
You are not alone
Far from it. Every man, woman and child has problems, and suffers, even those who appear on the surface to be living dream lives.
So even if you feel hemmed in on all sides like the man helplessly afloat in the sea and surrounded by sharks, the truth is that you are not alone.
I do not know what your problem is. Maybe you have been raped, lost a child or spouse to disease, murder or war, got AIDS, been ritually abused, kidnapped by UFOs, lost a fortune, lost a job, lost your home, been horribly mutilated -- or maybe you've done some of these things to others and are experiencing a ferocious, burning conscience of guilt.
I myself have experienced ten years of almost continuous physical pain and exhaustion. I have lost a beloved wife to adultery and a son whom I have not seen for many years. I have been persecuted for my faith and threatened with prison. I have been emotionally shattered and thought that the dark clouds would never go away. Sometimes I have felt desperately alone even when surrounded by people who love me. I have felt misunderstood and abused.
The good news is that whilst my life is by no means problem free, I have discovered an inner peace and joy inspite of continuing physical pain and the loss of family which I still keenly feel. I have learned that life is difficult for everybody, that we all have trials to pass through and problems to overcome.
If you are looking for simple solutions - for someone to suddenly blow all the dark clouds away in an instant - I'm afraid I can't help you. And the truth of the matter is, there isn't a single living soul in the whole wide world who can, at least not on a permanent basis. But this much I can promise you - you can have your heart and mind renewed and cleaned out, evil circumstances can be changed, and very often we can get back what we have lost.
Where shall we start, then? We shall start with our attitude to others, and especially those who have harmed us (for real or in our imaginations, the effect is the same). Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said:
If we have any hate, resentment or bitterness towards others, however justified we may think we are in having these feelings, we have to deal these first of all. Nothing else we do will make a bit of differnce to our problems in the long run if we don't first deal with our own hearts. Understanding that our enemies are probably wrestling with similar problems is sometimes helpful as we see that we are all in one big mess together.
"If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostilities."
"That's impossible!" or "That's crazy!" you might cry, but I mean it. Dealing with hatred, bitterness and resentment must first take place. Now I know I am not necessarily asking for a little thing - maybe a son or daughter has been murdered and the last thing you want to do is forgive the murderer, especially if he or she is still at large. You want justice or maybe even revenge.
To begin with, justice is not guaranteed in this world. In fact, it is rarely attained. The world is unjust. That we must sometimes accept. Sometimes we get justice but often times we don't. Being prepared to not necessarily get justice is important. We could spend our whole lives trying to get it and just burn up our lives fruitlessly. I know of one lady who spent her whole life trying to recover a piece of stolen art and spent millions in the courts. She never got it back. What a waste of life!
Secondly, revenge is absolutely NOT on the cards. It's not an option. Revenge serves merely to perpetuate a cycle of violence, hatred and bitterness. It doesn't work - but only compounds the problem. Look at some of the troublespots in the world today and you will often discover that the cycle of revenge has been perpetuated through centuries, resulting in death and misery for millions. The savagery in the Balkans has got nothing to do with the present generation at all but goes back centuries. Though there may be a moment of perverse satisfaction in getting revenge, it actually destroys the soul and removes the possibility of lasting happiness. God has stated quite clearly that vengeance belongs to Him alone and that the books will be balanced in the next life, not this one.
The only way forward is
It is an immensely powerful force, a thousand times more powerful than hate, and it can break the needless cycle of misery caused by hate. Better still, it can save life and improve the circumstances of life too.
But what if you cannot manage? The chances are you can't on your own. I remember how my heart was filled with a combination of rage and devastating hurt when my wife committed adultery. Though I had my life sufficiently in control that I would never have done anyone physical harm, my heart was infested with a spirit of revenge. Whilst we have God's permission to loathe and hate evil we do not have His permission to hate a living or even a dead person. There is a vital difference. We are not supposed to make peace with murder, rape, abuse, adultery or violence, only with the misguided souls who perpetrate these things.
To forgive others we must also very often forgive ourselves for having such dark thoughts and feelings..and perhaps even for dark deeds. Sad to say, we cannot do this on our own - we lack the power. Those who have tried often find dark feelings slipping their way in again, and soon discover they are fighting a losing battle.
So what is the solution? How can we get rid of guilt and the feelings of hatred we may have for those who have wronged us? We have to start with our own inner mess and get our own lives cleaned. That I can help you with for I know an infallible method - it always works IF you follow the rules. It will cost you everything and it will cost you nothing. Most importantly, it will set you free.
If you're willing to pay that price then I invite you to come further with me. If you're not, then you have to ask yourself the question: "Is my life more important to me than any hatred, bitterness, resentment or desire for vengeance?" Until you can answer "yes", I cannot be of any further help.
For those whose answer is "yes", I invite you to continue with me by clicking the Lion & Lamb below....
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