The Light and Dark Side of the Force

One major theme runs throughout the Star Wars story line. It’s that there is a struggle between the light side of the force and a dark side of the force.

The same is true in marriage. I’m not saying that spouses should solve their conflicts with light sabers (although that would be cool,) I’m saying these forces are just as powerful as the light sabers.

What are these two marital forces?

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The Realization

Having vanquished the Wicked Witch, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion return to the Wizard to receive what they have longed for.

Emboldened by their victory, they proudly present the Witch’s broom stick to the Wizard and anticipate their reward. But instead of rewarding them, the Wizard tells them to, “Come back tomorrow.”

Shocked, heart broken, and incensed, they press the Wizard to keep his promise, but they quickly realize he’s not going to. Then Toto pulls back a curtain, to reveal the Wizard is just a man. Discouragement sets in. They have traveled so far and worked so hard. It is not the ending they had expected. It is not the ending they wanted.

Then the Wizard points out to Dorothy and her traveling companions that they already have what they’re seeking. Without realizing it, they have always had these things.

  • The Scarecrow believed he needed a brain, but all along the way he was thinking through situations and coming up with plans to help them succeed. So the Wizard gives him something to symbolize the brain he already has…a diploma.
  • The Tin Man believed he needed a heart, but all along he was was feeling all kinds of emotions…empathy, joy, fear, loyalty, and everything in between. So the Wizard gives him a token of appreciation and a reminder that the measure of a heart is not how much you love, but how much you are loved.
  • The Cowardly Lion believed he needed courage, but all along the way he acted in courageous ways…even though he was afraid. So the Wizard gives him a medal marking his acts of courage and reminding him that courage is not the absence of fear, but the act of facing of your fear.

Finally, it comes down to Dorothy. She has put all her hopes in the Wizard and his ability to show her the road out of Oz and return her home. But in the end, she realizes he can’t do that.

Then, just as she is about to lose all hope of getting home, Glenda the Good Witch of the East arrives and explains that Dorothy has always had the ability to get out of Oz and go home. How? The ruby slippers. They had been on her feet the whole time, but she was so busy with the journey she hadn’t paid attention to what she had. In an act of faith, she clicks her heels together three times and repeats, ”There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” And the strange world of Oz begins to fade.

There will come a time when you feel you have fought and conquered that which was most frightening to you. You will think to yourself, “Surely, when I bring this victory to my counselor, my support group, or my trusted friend, they will bring closure to this ordeal and I can put it behind me.”

Many look to their guide to give them the final piece of the puzzle, so they can step back and see the completed picture then quickly put all the pieces back in the box. But even the most skilled of counselors cannot give you the absolute closure you desire. They are just a person…not a wizard. What they can do is help you realize that despite your circumstances, you have had the brains, the heart, and the courage to make the journey all along.

This may feel anti-climactic and leave you let-down and despondent at first. But a sense of power will show up. You’ll be reminded that what you need is already within you and it will take you wherever you need to go. Is it hope? Is it motivation? Is it God? Whatever it is, you will begin to trust yourself more, and the strange world you have been traveling through will begin to fade.

Doing the Right Thing is Never the Wrong Thing

-2015There are times when doing the right thing seems to make matters worse.

You try to defend your friend on the playground and you’re the one who gets beat up. An employer asks for an honest opinion then makes your life miserable because they didn’t like what you said. You stop to help a stranded motorist and miss your reservation at the restaurant you’ve been waiting so long to get into. The more you try to be kind and cooperative with your ex the more they take advantage of you.

Likewise, it can be difficult in marriage when you try to do the right thing and it doesn’t seem to get you anywhere. 

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When You Can’t Find the Merry in Christmas

We just put our Christmas decorations up…five days before Christmas! No, we’re not Scrooges and no, this is not typical for us.

We were going to have the decorations up three weeks before Christmas, but that week turned out to be more demanding than we expected. (Don’t they all?) We did stick a naked tree in a stand that week, but that’s as far as we got. Then my wife got sick a few days after that and has been sick ever since. So all we had was a naked tree in a stand five days before Christmas.

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4 Things You Can Do When Things Don’t Go As You Planned

“I think we better go to the ER.” I could barely hear the words over the voices in my head saying, “This can’t be happening! Not to me! I’m too young! This can’t be a heart attack!”

On the way to the ER, I convinced myself that since I wasn’t having the typical heart attack symptoms it probably wasn’t a heart attack. I was feeling pretty confident of that when I walked into the ER, but that confidence started to scatter when the guy at the desk immediately moved me to the head of the line and insisted that I go from one room to the next via a wheel chair.

So there I am… in an emergency room, connected to machines, pain in my chest, and alarms going off because my blood pressure was going for an all time record.

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3 Small Changes to Raise Your Discouragement Tolerance

Everybody has a different level of pain tolerance. Some have a high tolerance for pain. They have the ability to tolerate pain that others might find intolerable.

Still, other people have a very low tolerance for pain. Even a small pain feels big to them. They don’t wait to see if the headache will get worse. They take something at the first sign of a headache to make it go away. The same can be said about discouragement.

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