Psalm 68:6a - God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing.
To some people pets are seen only as creatures that eat the food you provide for them and let them out back to take care of their business. But to many of us we form a close bond with our pets. In some cases they are even seen as family.
Pets are important to those who live alone. In this case, they are much more than just companions. They fill an important void – to love and be loved.
Pets are easy to love. Cats love to cuddle and the sound of them purring sets off a smile on our lips that spreads to our heart.
Dogs, with their tails wagging, will bring a favorite toy and drop it at your feet waiting for you to play with them. And taking them for a walk not only provides exercise for them, but for you as well. In my case, I might otherwise stay in my apartment all day not wanting to go out, but my dog has needs. So out I go four times a day.
Even birds are fun to have around. When I had two finches they knew exactly when it was time to feed them. They would react to the sound of the refrigerator opening and begin to squawk up a storm.
Whatever pet you decide on you can bet that they will show you a side to love you may never have seen before. I believe that when God spoke in the Bible that he puts the lonely into families he may have also included pets.
The difficulty that comes is when a pet dies. It can be devastating to the owner. And as pet-loss.net states in their article, "Ten Tips on Coping with Pet Loss," remember: "People who don't understand the pet/owner bond may not understand your pain. All that matters, however, is how you feel. Don't let others dictate your feelings: They are valid, and may be extremely painful. But remember, you are not alone: Thousands of pet owners have gone through the same feelings."
Losing a pet can put the owner into some of the same steps of grief you can experience as the loss of someone you know. I say this not to lessen the loss of a friend or loved one, but to help you understand that losing a pet can cause grief.
And if your pet has been very ill you may have to take the painful step to have them put to sleep. I had to do this with one of my dogs, and it was really hard but in the end it was the most loving thing I could do.
After a season of mourning some may choose to not ever get another pet. While others, choose to find a new companion to join their family.
Have you or someone else you know ever lost a pet? How did it affect you? I look forward to your comments.
Job 11:16-18 - You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
Most people forget something every once in a while. Perhaps work has been extra busy or family events are taking you from one place to the next. Whatever the reason, usually your mind will later come back to where your thoughts were and you’ll remember.
But it can be disconcerting, especially for those who are suffering with emotional pain, to forget things on a regular basis and your mind doesn’t bring itself around. You find yourself more than just forgetful.
This kind of forgetfulness is not just trying to figure out where you left your keys or forgetting what you needed to purchase at the store. This kind of forgetfulness runs deep. It throws you off course. The more you can’t remember the more stressed you become. The stress then causes you to forget something else and the cycle goes on.
Forgetfulness can also be a sign of a medical problem and needs to be addressed.
Find warning signs from the National Institute on Aging that may indicate a discussion with your physician in their article, “Forgetfulness: Knowing When to Ask for Help,” such as asking the same question or repeating the same story over and over.
Now that we’ve taken a look at the negative aspects of forgetfulness let’s talk about when forgetfulness can also be something desirable. An example would be when you want to forget the hurtful things you’ve gone through in the past. You want to forget the bad things, but your mind keeps bringing it back up again.
One of the reasons why we can’t forget may be because we haven’t forgiven those who have hurt us. Forgiving someone can seem like the opposite thing that you should do.
You may also believe that if you forgive it will mean that the person is getting off the hook. But they aren’t. What they did was still wrong and hurtful. And I’m not trying to make light of what’s happened to you. But forgiveness is not for the other person. It’s for you.
When we’re able to let go of the past then, just as the Bible verse above says, our pain will flow down the river towards peace. With time the light in our life will prevail and the darkness will be transformed into hope and rest.
This may seem like an unreachable goal. It is on our own. But with the help of friends, family and God our forgetfulness can truly be a good thing.
1 Timothy 5:13 - Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.
You’re in your seat minding your own business when a few snickers begin to ebb and flow around you. You try to ignore it and listen to what the teacher is saying, but her back is turned to the classroom. And she’s clueless. But you’re not.
You glance to the left and then the right. Out of the corner of your eye you see a piece of paper being past to one of your classmates. Your eyes latch hold of the girl two seats across. She cups her hand over her mouth trying to stifle a laugh.
You turn around now a bit more boldly when you figure it out – no one is passing the note to you. And here we go again.
When will they just leave me alone, you wonder. So what if I’m a little bit different. They don’t need to keep making up stuff that isn’t true. You bury your head in your hands and begin to cry.
Me, zero; bullies, one.
Gossip is like that “secret” note passed around in class. Except, instead of a written note passed around by kids, it’s a vicious rumor passed from one person to the next by adults.
Gossip is a cruel form of communication. It seems to grow expeditiously when spread around. And many adults are like those kids in school who made fun of me. They feed upon the misfortune of others, in a feeding frenzy, just waiting for the next juicy morsel to be passed around.
The sad part is there are only a few kind souls who will hear gossip and refuse to pass it around.
A similar form of gossip is when someone finds out you’re suffering from a mental health issue. At that point there’s a choice to be made: share the information and start to gossip, or be sensitive to the needs of the hurting.
Life tends to move in cycles. Sometimes things are going pretty well. Other times are full of sharp rocks and deep waters. You may currently not be suffering from a form of emotional pain, but be careful how you treat others. Sometimes life cycles around and you’re the one in pain only hoping to be understood.
As the Bible verse above says don’t get into the habit of sitting around being a busybody, gossiping, and say things you know you’re not supposed to say. God will give you the strength to be kindhearted in your thoughts and with your words.
Below you’ll find a link to an article on ways to respond to and stop gossiping.
Have you been the subject of gossip? How did you get past it? Or, have you been the one gossiping? I’d love to hear from you.
Ecclesiastes 7:14 - When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.
When things are going well do you feel guilty because you’re having a good time?
For some people life has been especially rough. So when good things begin to happen they hold off on completely enjoying themselves, because they believe eventually something bad is going to happen. In addition, something may have happened in their past that is their fault, and they may feel like they don’t deserve to be happy.
Realistically we know that life will not always give us happy moments. However, mixed into those negative moments are some really good ones.
So how do we go from expecting the worst to experiencing the best? First, we can make a list of the things that are bad and good in our lives. Dwell on that list. Think about the bad things until they are crystal clear:
Now let’s turn our thoughts in the opposite direction and make a list of the things that are going right in your life:
What are these areas?
It is possible to turn your life around and believe you can enjoy life. I was stuck for many years in the muck and mire of blaming myself for everything wrong in my life, and this caused me to never fully enjoy life. I make a point now to pause so to speak during a family event or times spent with a friend, and allow myself to take a breath and enjoy the moment. You can too!
Just as the Bible verse above says, when times are good, be happy. And when they’re bad, know that God has made them both and he will help you find the joy in the midst of all of life’s up and down points.
Do you allow yourself to be happy or do you also blame yourself for all that’s wrong in your life? I’d love to hear from you.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.