Everything in this world eventually comes to an end, which at times can be disheartening. It’s the feeling you get when you read a book that’s so good you don’t want it to end. Or when you watch a movie that you wish would go on a little while longer.
While in Bible college, I auditioned for one of the school’s traveling musical teams. I was excited about the thought of being able to be involved in that ministry, but was crushed when I failed to make the team. In my disappointment, I could only trust that God’s purposes were greater than mine.
In a documentary film about three legendary guitarists, Jack White described the first essential for writing a song: “If you don’t have a struggle already inside of you or around you, you have to make one up.”
While I was visiting my son in San Diego, we decided to go to Shadow Mountain Church to hear Dr. David Jeremiah preach. Steve and I got up early on Sunday morning and took the hour-long drive to the church. But our anticipation turned to disappointment when we discovered that Dr. Jeremiah was not there that day. “Some other guy”—a substitute—was preaching.
It’s been several decades since a high school event devastated me. Playing sports was hugely important to me. I zeroed in on basketball and spent hundreds of hours practicing my game. So when I didn’t make the varsity team in my last year after being on the team since junior high, I was crushed.
Of the many things I love about my mom, chief among them may be her candor. Many times I have called to ask her opinion on a matter and she has consistently responded, “Don’t ask my opinion unless you want to hear it. I’m not going to try to figure out what you want to hear. I’ll tell you what I really think.”
One summer I was at a gathering of old high school acquaintances when someone behind me tapped me on my shoulder. As my eyes drifted over the woman’s name tag, my mind drifted back in time. I remembered a tightly folded note that had been shoved through the slot on my locker. It had contained cruel words of rejection that had shamed me and crushed my spirit. I remember thinking, Somebody needs to teach you a lesson on how to treat people! Although I felt as if I were reliving my adolescent pain, I mustered up my best fake smile; and insincere words began coming out of my mouth.
A re parents trying too hard to make their kids happy? And is that having the opposite effect? These questions introduce an interview with Lori Gottlieb, author of an article on the subject of unhappy young adults. Her conclusion: Yes. Parents who refuse to let their children experience failure or sadness give them a false view of the world and do not prepare them for the harsh realities of adult life. They’re left feeling empty and anxious.