My mom and I had a rocky relationship in the past, but we have worked hard to get along better in the last year. Since then, she always reminds me that I can turn to her for help when I am troubled. As a single parent of two boys, my financial situation is generally in the red. Whenever I am struggling, financially or otherwise, her response is that I should “Give it to God.” What the hell does that mean? It feels like she is not really listening. I think it’s a contrived response from some goofy New-Age workshop. I’ve tried to tell her how painful it is to pour out my problems and hear “Give it to God,” but she says that if I did turn my problems over to the Lord, I would understand why she tells me to do so. I believe God (if there really is one) helps those who help themselves. By talking to her, I am just trying to get the help that she promised to give. Am I wasting my time?
Trying to change your mother? Yes. Giving it to God? Well, that depends on your relationship with the Divine. Terry Hershey, an Episcopal minister, says that people were always telling him not to talk about his alcoholic family or his own history of substance abuse problems or his divorce. “People told me that I should stop talking. Instead, I should write down my problems on a piece of paper, then rip it up and give it to God,” he says. The problem, says Hershey, is that “God gives it back. God says, ‘I’m standing right beside you so every time you rip it up and give it up to me, I have to stand on a chair and get it down so I can give it back.'” Hershey’s orientation is clearly God as companion, rather than the more culturally popular projections of God as parent or critical judge. If God is your companion, you are aware of a constant loving presence that works through your difficulties with you.
If you have truthfully taken all the possible steps toward healing a problem, it can be an act of kindness to yourself to admit it. Then you can choose to fret occasionally about it or you can find a skilled counselor to help you sift through and heal what remains. The other possibility? Give it to God (a source larger than yourself). You’ve been giving it to your mother. I wonder if she’s instructing you to join her in the mantra of surrender so she can avoid being held responsible for your problems. Be honest: are you expecting your mother to lend an ear and a checkbook? If so, don’t just admire Ben Franklin’s famous insight, “God helps them that help themselves.” Live it.
After six months of dating, my boyfriend still has not said that he loves me. I can tell that he does, but it would mean a lot to hear those three little words. Is he phobic about something or am I expecting too much, too soon?
I recently heard that potent phrase deciphered: “I” means that you have self-knowledge, “love” means that you are capable of selflessly caring and cooperating with another person, “you” means that you understand the concept of the other. My thoughts? A lot of people say the words, but few actually comprehend the commitment implied within. In most romantic relationships the “I” in “I love you” is an exceptionally exaggerated mask of the person’s true self. In a healthy, committed relationship personas are gradually peeled away, revealing two genuine people ready to say those three powerful words. So don’t rush your beau. Real love is worth waiting for.