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Written by Vicki Hinze

On October 12, 2008

WARNING:  This is a no-edit zone…

These are tumultuous times.  Everything and everyone is in an uproar over something or many things.  If it isn’t hurricanes on the coast, it’s hurricanes on Wall Street and in Washington.

We look at this, and too often see only the bad.  There’s plenty of it and since bad news sells, that’s what we hear most, so this comes as little surprise.  It is however an unbalanced view and one that, if we don’t guard our minds, can drive us into despair.

As believers, we know that regardless of worldly influences, God is in control.  We know that there is purpose and reason and that evil done to cause harm, He can turn for good.

We also know that this conversion process is two-part.  We do our part, God does His–and He is respectful of our free will.

This is the best reason to guard our minds.  If we focus on doom and gloom, God will respect it as our wish.  If we focus on solutions and finding value or good in the opportunities brought to light, then He’ll respect that.

So the question becomes, What do we want respected?

You can look at the economy and see a lot of people have been hurt.  I’m no exception.  A dear friend asked me the other day if I’d been hurt by the stock market challenges.  I replied that the best I can figure at the moment, I’ll have to work ten years after I die before I can retire.

Now, you might think that’s a bad thing, and it is.  But what if instead, you think about it differently?  Okay, so retirement and traveling is a pipe dream now.  Honestly, it was just something to look forward to, not a passion, but maybe for others it is a passion.  So for the sake of illustration, let’s say it was a passion and I’m bitterly disappointed about this.

I have two choices:
1. I can stay disappointed and live the rest of my life bitter.
2. I can look for something good and enjoy the rest of my life.

Staying bitter holds no appeal for all the obvious reasons.  Dissatisfaction and discontent leads to a life of regret and disillusion until it’s too late to have a life to live.  So I’ll take the looking for something good route.

Sounds easy, this choice.  But it’s hard to find something good in losing a lifetime of savings that is evidence of years of hard work.  But that’s on a physical level, and in the grand scheme of things, that’s a small share of eternity.  So it’s wise to shift to a big-picture look on a broader canvas.

It’s in that broader canvas that I–that we all–can find something good.

Shifting focus, I ask, what will I do during these years I thought I’d be retired?  What new purpose(s) will I adopt?  What deeper purpose on my current purpose can I now reach for?  What can I do now that I would not have been able to do before?  What new dreams do I now have time and the motivation to pursue?

Looking ahead, I see opportunity, potential to continue to grow and be a positive influence.  I see hope and I’m enthused.  Actually, looking ahead, I’m excited.

Yes, there will be hard times.  Yes, there are wrongs that need correcting.  Yes, we do have a lot of work to do in every area imaginable.  Entity upon entity failed, and they all need to be fixed.  It won’t all be pleasant.  It won’t all be fun.  It won’t all be easy.

But let’s face it.  In these areas, we’ve been lax and apathetic.  Anything neglected is always going to need repair.  We get to be a part of those repairs.  We have a voice in deciding how they are repaired.

We get an opportunity to renew ourselves and to define or redefine our purpose.  To really think about what we want to do with this “found” time.  And we face all this knowing that God is  with us and He’ll respect our focus and free will.

And maybe, once the shock passes and the fear settles, we will see that in these troubling events we have also been blessed with a divine gift:

The chance for a fresh start.

I’m going to embrace this chance.  Grab that chance with both hands and hang onto the hope and promise it holds.  I’m going to be grateful for it, because I know that in seeing this opportunity, for me, God has already turned the intended harm to a good thing.

The beauty of it is that for a long time I’ve worried that as a nation we were on the wrong road.  Morals and values and ethics were sliding down that slick slope at warp speed.  I don’t wish this meltdown had happened, but it has; it’s here, and that’s that.  Now, we get a chance to think about where we’ve been and where we are and to decide if that’s where we want to be and if we’re heading in the direction we really want to go.

Collectively, we’ve suffered a gaping wound.  Collectively, we can let bitterness keep the wound open and seeping (and suffer the infection that comes with it) or we can heal by focusing on what good can come from this.  We know we’ll gain wisdom from knowing what got us here and what we learn on reshaping our futures.

We can have faith and focus on our personal and collective fresh starts.



c2008, Vicki Hinze


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