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Marriage and Family

In America ... we suffer

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04/01/2016 - We live in an amazing country! A quick drive through almost any town in the U.S. and the abundance of freedoms would be immediately evident to an observer. Personal homes reflect our freedom to live where and how we choose. Small business shops reflect the freedom people have to pursue individual plans and goals and create a living as desired. Large corporate businesses reflect the freedom for a person to grow their business and taste personal success. These businesses also reflect job opportunities for countless others. Grocery stores reflect our ability to comfortably sustain, even over-indulge, our appetites. Parks and other recreation opportunities allow people to enjoy leisure time with whomever they wish. You may even find a bar and a church within walking distance of one another.

In America, even the poor have opportunities through resources. Grants give opportunities for education and charitable organizations can help meet basic needs. Resources are even available to aid in job placement, utility payments and many other needs that may be presented. Many in the lower economic class in America can still enjoy the luxuries of one or more vehicles, a television, radios, computers, smart phones and internet access. Even when in disagreement over political positions, we have the right to disagree and openly express our opinions. What need would we ever have for hope?

The term "hope" has largely become a commonplace term. In early February I "hoped" the Broncos would win the Super Bowl. Hope is usually expressed for a desired raise at work, safe travels during a vacation, a wanted gift or success on a project. Sometimes we may "hope" for healing or recovery from some form of suffering; because, even in America, people suffer.

It is unfortunate that the word "hope" has largely been watered down mean a mere desire. For some, "hope" can seem like a distant concept which would be foolish to embrace. In America, blanketed by luxuries and distracted by pleasures, few would "hope" to suffer well. In America, we are suffering and we don't even realize it. We suffer the loss of deep meaningful relationships because we are distracted by a pseudo-reality as presented on television. We suffer the absence full satisfaction for hard work and toilsome labor because we pursue our comforts with greater fervor. What works of art and literature would be available to us today if it weren't for video games and movies? Entertainment has supplanted responsibility; and comfort for perseverance. We idolize celebrities and ignore those who sacrifice for the community good. We know more about fantasy story lines and characters than historical events and the people who shaped our world. We suffer and don't even know it.

We should all "hope" to suffer well; but we need each other to do this. In America, we have a great community. In America, we have tools to suffer well. First, we can do this by helping others. If we all recognized a need for one another, then we could be more embracing and safe for others to be vulnerable. We do this by becoming safe places for others to be transparent without fear of shame or gossip. To be encouraged rather than mocked or criticized will foster courage and openness. Second, we can all do this by seeking help. None of us are above suffering, and are stung by our many pleasures. Seeking out mentor relationships with healthy people and surrounding ourselves with those who will encourage us to be healthier makes it harder to become complacent. These two steps can create a communal dynamic where we strive to suffer well by rising above our complacency.

Men are often less inclined to connect with others to pursue deeper growth. Lack of conflict can be seen as a happy life. Issues such as addiction (including sex addiction), anger, withdrawal, avoidance and others are more likely to be dealt with privately by men than to seek out another. Some men have private desires to improve in areas like their parenting, role as a husband, deeper life socially or spiritually or improvement in other identified needs. A new non-profit organization has recently opened in Casper called Souls of Men. Bob Bruhn is a life coach who works with men with all the fore mentioned. If any men identify such a desire, Bob offers a very safe and confidential opportunity to suffer well. If interested, he can be contacted at (307) 797-3501 or on the website www.soulsofmen.org.

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