by Tim Patterson
PLYMOUTH, MI – The stress of the past few months, because of the ongoing pandemic, economic swings in world markets, and the never-ending presidential campaign, is really taking a toll on many of us. In just a matter of days, the nation will have selected their new/old Commander and Chief and depending on your political persuasion, the situation may be more stressful than ever. I will just be relieved to not have to watch another political television commercial! Nevertheless, remember Who really controls the affairs of man.
Taking all of this into consideration, as we move into the holiday seasons, even our times of celebration can be very enjoyable and stressful at the same time. Statistics show there is a great deal of depression and even suicide during what should be the most joyous and festive seasons of all. Many marriages won’t make it through to the New Year because of the added tensions that seem to pile up from Thanksgiving through Christmas.
It is my opinion that 2020 and 2021 will be banner years for marriage disintegrations. But for those who have strong families and committed marriages this will be a wonderful time to renew family bonds and strengthen those relationships. Millions of families and friends travel thousands of miles just to be with each other while untold others cannot wait to be separated.
One such couple used the emotions of the season to their advantage. Maybe you can identify with them.
An elderly man in Phoenix calls his son in New York and says, "I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; 45 years of misery is enough."
"Pop, what are you talking about?" the son screams.
"We can't stand the sight of each other any longer," the old man says. "We're sick of each other, and I'm sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her." Then he hangs up.
Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. "Like heck they're getting divorced," she shouts, "I'll take care of this." She calls Phoenix immediately, and screams at the old man, "You are NOT getting divorced. Don't do a single thing until I get there. I'm calling my brother back, and we'll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don't do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?"
The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. "Okay," he says, "They're coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own fares."
Some people will do anything to be with the ones they love! Take time to be thankful for the friends and family God has placed in your life. Oh, I know that they are not perfect and that they get on your nerves now and again, but that’s part of what it means to be family. Being part of a family or being a true friend requires that you accept one another, “warts and all”. It means loving and accepting them just as they are and just to let you know, love AIN’T for sissies! Sometimes it’s just plain hard to love those who can be downright unlovable.
During this season of Thanksgiving, take time to be truly thankful. Do whatever it takes to seize an opportunity to express to your friends and family your thankfulness for them being a big part of your life. We have lost too many during this crazy and stressful year and for many we have been made painfully aware of just how fragile and uncertain life can be. Love without limits. Don’t wait until it’s too late to say, “I’m sorry. Forgive me. I love you……..” When all others forsake you, family and true friends will remain. For that we can be thankful.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.