Not long ago, I started reading a book about a family dealing with many issues. Each member of the family had their own significant challenge: divorce, physical limitations caused by an accident, and the onset of Alzheimer’s. Their plates were full, their emotions were overloaded, and none of them seemed to recognize the fact the others had life issues as well. The personal pain they were stuck in obscured their peripheral vision.
I haven’t had a chance to finish the book, yet, but was blessed with a huge takeaway from the first couple of chapters:
We cannot be so consumed with our own lives that we don’t see those around us struggling, especially our family.
In the book, the daughter was living in denial of her divorce. The father was angry because of his physical condition and restrictions. He took his anger out on his wife verbally when she would forget to bring him food. The mom/wife couldn’t understand why she was so forgetful. Each of them focused on their respective circumstances and couldn’t see the pain the others experienced. God forbid that take place in our homes, Lyfe readers!
It is true we must know how to encourage ourselves, as the Bible says David did in 1 Samuel 30:6 when he was greatly distressed. It is also true, however, that we are to encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11) even though it may not always be convenient to do so. Yet, as family members, shouldn’t we?
Considering the state of our nation and communities today. I venture to say every resident under your roof, including you, is having a challenge with some aspect of life. Is your family able to have an open dialogue to prevent the pressures of life from becoming unbearable for anyone of you? If they haven’t been able to verbalize it, can you see a change in their demeanor or behavior which may indicate an unspoken concern they are working through?
Has your husband or wife become increasingly irritable? Has your son or daughter become distant, withdrawn, or disconnected? What about your mother or father, do they seemed uncharacteristically frustrated? Chances are good it is because they are dealing with a problem not yet expressed.
A reasonable expectation of family, especially those within the same household, should be support and encouragement. A concerned, listening ear may be the only thing our loved one needs. Pressing beyond the issues of our own lives long enough to provide that support and encouragement could prove beneficial for everyone.
My heart hurt for the family depicted in the book. Although it was a work of fiction, written to shed light on Alzheimer’s awareness, it was representative of actual families in households which may be similar to yours and mine. I don’t know how their story ends but it has inspired me to be more aware of those around me and what they may be struggling with. Support, encouragement, love, and compassion are the fabric that holds families together.