May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. It is no secret that there has been a sharp increase in the number of cases of depression, anxiety, stress, family conflict, domestic violence (and the list goes on and on). The fact is that we are living in stressful times and many are having difficulty coping. While there are numerous strategies for dealing with mental/relational distress (and different approaches are meaningful to different people) one thing I would recommend is the simple act of: "Hanging Out With Friends." For me, an evening with a good friend can significantly help to reduce my anxiety and lift my spirits. I actually have several thoughts regarding this...
Wednesday, April 19, was a wonderful day in the life of Sapulpa 1st Methodist Church as we celebrated the 100 birthday of Jackie Robertson. Jackie has been a "professing member" of our church since 1931 (her chronological member number is "5"!) and her contribution to the life of the church (and the Sapulpa community) has been beyond measure. At a dinner in her honor, she was joined by some 40 family members, over 100 members of our church, and many special guests and friends. Highlights of the evening included Jackie being awarded a certificate recognizing her as an official member of the Oklahoma Centenarian Society. She was also honored by letters from state representatives, officials of the Cherokee Nation, and the singing of the National Anthem (in Cherokee) by one of her grandsons. A very special moment was when she rose to address those who were gathered.
Sometimes we fail to recognize it, but each of us find great resources from the legacy and heritage of special people who have gone before us. For each of us there are people who have: inspired us, taught us, encouraged us, and have been role models for us of what it means to live life well. Most of our Heritage members are people who have faced numerous trials and struggles in their life and they have done so with fortitude and grace. They are, for us, a true example of how we should live.
So, if you are facing a life challenge or trial, remember people like Jackie. Give thanks to God for the resources of faith that were planted in your life by people who have gone before you. Draw upon their wisdom, be inspired by their example, and be strengthened by the knowledge that God walks with us just as he has walked with so many who have gone before us.
Years ago I heard the Christian author/pastor, Charles Swindoll, tell the story of asking his adult son what "times" he remembers most from his childhood. The son told him one of his most memorable occasions was a day when he was playing football in the cold, wind, and rain. His team was way behind (no chance of catching up) and most of the "stands" were empty. But he said he looked up and there was his mom and dad, still in the "stands" cheering him on. This, the son said, was indeed a special moment. Well this past month my son and his mom had a similar experience...
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.