Find Good - Remember Good
It's not uncommon for adults entering into their thirties, forties, and even fifties to struggle with deep emotions & feelings from their childhoods.
For me, there were so many mixed emotions growing up in regards to my parents. My relationship with them was much of the time a contradiction.
I offer the first of several avenues I've discovered during my many years of making sense out of difficult childhood memories.
As the oldest of six, my mother raised us as a single parent during a time in which single parents were a rarity. As a child of a single mom, negative comments towards my mother for just being a single parent reflected deeply creating huge craters of emotion deep within me. Times were, to say the least, tough for a divorced mom in the 60's and 70's. From my perspective, for mom, there were difficult times of just too much stress, too much loneliness, too much struggle, too much anger, too much disgrace, too much brew, too much of too much, and not enough of the essential good stuff that makes life rich and rewarding.
In my early twenties, I tended to dwell mostly on the unfortunate events of childhood rehearsing them within my mind over and over again. All this, just as I started a new life with a wonderful woman, and the birth of our three beautiful baby boys.
I remember thinking, "These thoughts are devouring me. I can't be happy; I can't enjoy my wife and sons. I've got to stop this." It was at that moment, that singular instant, when this struck me. What I needed to do. Instead of remembering bad events of my childhood, I began to asking myself, "What were the good things that occurred? What did my mom do to try and make our lives better? What did mom do that brought smiles? What were the many things she did right?" In my mid-twenties, that marked the beginning of a new way for me, a better way of thinking, and a long journey of looking at life differently.
For example, one great memory was Christmases. Mom always made sure that all six of us experienced a great Christmas! Not having enough money to buy bunches of great toys, I remember how mom scrimped and saved to buy dozens of really cheap toys. Mom wanted each of her children to receive and unwrap mounds of gifts lying under the tree.
Often, hearing her wrapping gifts late at night, I crept to the opening of my bedroom door which I shared with two other brothers, and watched her wrap endless piles of toys. Mesmerized on one particular evening, neither of us realized the night had passed until the light of dawn peered through the frosted wintered windows. With that, I slipped back into bed with mom unawares of a young witness who sat with her through the entire evening into early morning as she wrapped gift after gift after gift. I choose to find that good, and remember that good, because it is that good.
For many of us if not most, good can be found in the midst of most unhappy circumstances. Good is present if one chooses to see it. Find Good & Remember Good continues to serve me well. Give it a try! May it bring joy and peace to you as well!
Part Two: Become the Opposite of What You Disdain
Don was born in North Minneapolis, Minnesota. Having served twenty-two years in South Africa as missionaries with his wife Kathy, and eight years pastoring in the United States, he shares unique perspectives about life, family, relationships, and ministry.