Discouragement

Disappointments Call For Flexibility, Not Discouragement

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, has always said, “Don’t invite me to your pity party.” Ed’s motto is; “I don’t want to hear about your problems, I don’t even like my own.” My old neighbor claims that it takes a transport full of problems to discourage him. He is farmer tough when it comes to disappointments; farmers don’t expect life to run smooth and trouble free. No one else should either.

When Ed called the other night, I wasn’t expecting any sympathetic ear. I told him that I had a sobering week. I discovered that my garden plot in the community garden had been vandalized. Someone had broken in during the night and went about pulling garden plants out by the roots. They had pulled out my dill plant, two bean plants, two cucumber plants, a portion of the Swiss chard, one kale plant, and left them to die. My great patch of lettuce had vanished altogether. I replanted a few of the plants but had a mass funeral for the cucumbers and kale casualties.

“No big deal,” my old neighbor offered, “You can get new plants or more seeds. Just start over where you need to in your garden. That is a small thing to get discouraged about.” He then asked if that little disappointment was enough to give me a down week. I told him that we had preplanned and paid for our future funerals. Those arrangements, while well advised to take care of, ahead of time, are a bit daunting. Most of us all want to get to heaven, but no one wants to die to get there. It is a bit discouraging to plan your future funeral because it is admitting you will die sooner than later.

Ed said that there was no use in being concerned about your death and funeral. Life is nothing more than the here and now. Most folks work hard with the objective of dying rich or at least as rich as they can be, and enjoying life as long as they can. There is no need to let any disappointment or discouragement drag you down. Set your mind on living as long as you can and remember there is a way around a disappointment if you are willing to be flexible. My only response was that I’m too old to be flexible.

One positive result of disappointments is that it forces us out of our comfort zones. I was counting on the plants growing in my garden until someone pulled them out by their roots. We can take nothing for granted. God knew that there was no permanent comfort zone in our lives here on earth. Our here and now will change in spite of our best efforts to control it. Yes, death is a fact of life that we will either accept or deny. Death has no respect for either person or age. We all have a time of birth and a time to die.

Christians do not lose heart in spite of disappointments and death. Day by day they fix their eyes on Jesus. He is the author and perfecter of their faith. He has promised heaven to those who believe in Him. (John 3:16)

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Raymond Maher
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