We had a family over this weekend. He has worked his entire life (5 years shy of retirement). She has trained in music but has been at home. He is paranoid about going out and has rarely taken the family anywhere. They have two houses. One in the native place - one which they are living in. Their elder daughter has missed 2 years of schooling because of illness - and now wants to switch courses and go to another school.
They came for help. They wanted solutions. Most of the problems were deeper than their circumstances. The problems are rooted in their relationships. Their trust with each other. Their alienation from the lover of their souls...
We talked and listened. We shared our own lives as much as possible. We ate and took them to our church (he had to leave at 4 AM since he was on duty for the first shift on that Sunday).
When he came back we were still not much closer to solving their problems - other than seeing the ever-widening rift that lies beneath this couple - and their two children.
No easy solutions. But this is the place where we believe that we are not in a closed box. We know that besides the various states of mind - the internal pathologies of distrust and ambition - the years of accumulated venom that is simmering below the surface - beyond all of this lies the hope of honesty, redemption and forgiveness.
The only way forward is the way of our Lord Jesus and His cross. Nothing else will do. No amount of motivational talks, no magic solutions, no mumbo-jumbo. Simple, hard, brutal honesty is the only thing that will clean out the Augean stables of this family. Only the grace that is personified in Jesus himself - who cried out 'Father forgive them' as his hands and feet were brutally pierced can provide healing to our dear ones.
We feel small and helpless - but cling to the promises of our wounded - and victorously risen - Lord.
A work in progress.