We watched a movie the other night in which the main character establishes his outlook on life with the first words of the movie,
"It might rain."
There was a time when I could really identify with this perspective on life. "The glass is half empty" was my middle name. It embarrasses me to think of how it affected my life and the lives of my wife and children. We didn't go anywhere. We didn't do anything. I worked and they lived their lives. The boys grew up. My wife became self-sufficient. I was paralyzed much of the time thinking, "It might rain."
I'm reminded of this because of husbands/fathers that I see and hear who are in the same place I was. This is a case of "it takes one to know one."
"I don't see any other options."
"It's just the way I am."
"That's just the way it is."
"Something might go wrong."
"I can't afford it."
"There's no other way."
"There's no other interpretation..."
Gwen and I see so many husbands/fathers "locked" in this mindset. I know that not every man lives here. But, many do share this mindset malady. I think, in some ways, the American work ethic, taken to the extreme (which is where many men think they want to be) exacerbates the problem. We men think we know the way to success, we put our nose to the grindstone, we work long hours, we focus, we don't allow distractions, we are frugal, we conserve, we work for a future goal. In and of themselves, these are not bad intentions, per se. I did this. I followed this path to success (as I think many do) only to be disappointed in mid-life, wondering "Where did I go wrong?" And, in the mean time, my family was wondering "When are we going to live life?"
There was no creativity, no vision, no balance, no bright outlook, no self-examination, just tunnel vision. I regret it now, even though I sometimes still fall victim to my own bad attitude. I could not help but pass this mindset on to my sons. I know that I have changed. I just pray that they can overcome my bad example.
As a Believer, I should have known better. I did not know then that "it's the relationship, stupid." I did not know what sort of relationship was possible with God and my fellow man. I'm not the man I was before. I have changed. You can too. I dwell on this only long enough to pass along some words of encouragement to whoever cares to listen.
Your ally in the pursuit of Christlikeness, Kim