Watershed events

By A. Ray Lee

Columnist

In their book “Watersheds,” doctors Robert and Jeanette Lauer have described a watershed as being a time when unexpected major events occur and alter one’s life in a significant way for good or ill or a combination of both. We may be ambushed by such events and find ourselves having to make decisions that greatly influence the course of life for us. I would add that some of these times may be caused by our own bad decisions in the past. The once rich prodigal son found himself in dire straits in a pig pen as a direct result of the choices he had made.

Recently, as I am recovering from a serious health event, I have had ample time to once again consider these truths. I am not a licensed counselor, nor am I a practicing psychologist but through the years I have completed enough recognized hours of study to qualify for a degree in the field of human behavior. I have spent my entire adult life in Christian ministry to people and have stood by in their hours of distress. Indeed I have experienced such times personally and have come to the conclusion that my watershed moments have been in three realms of life: the emotional, the physical, and the spiritual.

Great emotional distress accompanies broken relationships between life-long friends. No one goes unscathed when a family disintegrates regardless of the cause. The lives of those involved in a breakup will forever carry emotional scars. The devastation wrought on young children and separating partners can never be fully calculated. It is an experience that will forever change the course of their lives. The ability to relate to others in commitment may be permanently affected.

Unexpected accidents or terminal illnesses will greatly change the lives of more than just the patient. The death of a spouse often leaves the one remaining seeking to find how to deal with that loss and find meaning in life. For most when death takes a loved one the process of grief can be long and painful.

Spiritual crises come upon us when we are dealing with perplexing matters concerning our faith and relationship with God which may lead to a time of disappointment and disillusionment. We may ask “Why me Lord? Why now? Have you forgotten me?” Some may spend troubling months or even years seeking to reconcile the love of God with their heartaches.

All of these things which I have mentioned and many others are a part of the world in which we live. They are beyond our control. We have no choice whether we respond to them or not. But we do have a choice in how we respond. A positive attitude is essential. I have tried to get beyond the question “Why?” The positive question becomes “How can I restructure my life?” The prodigal son was not willing to remain in the pig pen. He took positive steps. Although painful at the time, they led him into a meaningful future. He recognized he needed the help of his father and returned to him. The older I have gotten the more I believe “God is at work in all things for those who love him.” We need to seek His presence always, especially in the watersheds of our lives.

 

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