Ugh! Thank goodness August is nearly over. What an awful month. What an awful summer. Summers are usually unpleasant for my family (none of us enjoy the Texas heat) but for some reason, August has become an annual trip through bad times for us, especially my sister and I, who live together.
We don’t know what’s going on. It’s very puzzling, but reliable as triple digit temperatures and as unpleasant as being trapped at a political rally. What usually happens is a nosedive in our finances, no matter how much we’ve prepared for the month during the year. We know August is coming. Unlike Congress, which likes to pretend there is no such thing as an annual budget to pass, we acknowledge that August will show up with some emergency financial drain, and we save up as much as we can. But it’s never enough. Ever. No matter what amount we save, the expense is usually double.
Family health always takes a nosedive too. If it’s not me or my sister, it’s a family member who depends on us for transportation and help. This year, it’s apparently all of the above. I won’t bore you with details, and my family would kill me anyway for talking about their business. But wow, what a summer. I provide most of the transportation to medical appointments, and I have been very busy. Since my car’s air conditioning is broken right now in a very expensive manner, travel adds to the unpleasantness.
My sister and I often shake our heads in amazement at everything that happens during the summer and mostly in August every year. Don’t dwell on the bad stuff, some people tell me. You’ll draw it to yourself. Hah! If thinking about something drew it to me, I’d be living the life of a huge lottery winner…
My fellow Christians remind me we are not to be afraid or anxious, to rely on God’s grace and help to get us through. Thanks, but that’s not the problem. We’re not anxious or afraid. We’re exasperated!
But we endure. It happens every year, and we’re used to it. We know it ends. Health improves, finances recover, and the heat breaks. The seasons in nature change, and so do the seasons in human lives. Sometimes the season seems to linger too long, but relief finally comes. I’ve had times when August lasted for years, but I held on, and the calendar of my life finally changed.
Bad times come to everybody’s lives, and some will last a very long time. Don’t give up. I’ve spoken to many teens who felt they couldn’t last another day, and reminded them that school does not last forever. Often the only thing you can do is keep your head down and endure in silence, but it will end, and you won’t have to go back any more.
Some jobs are miserable and make you hate to get dressed and go in, but despite what many believe, they don’t last forever. I’ve had them. I used to moan about them, too, until one day I met a young man with very old eyes, and complained to him how I was stuck in a dead end situation. He told me to think of one good thing about my job. Just one, not a list, just one, and concentrate on it. Remind myself of it over and over and over whenever I felt overwhelmed. Just one month after taking his advice, I was promoted into a job I’d forgotten I’d applied for and enjoyed myself thoroughly at it.
When doctors told me I had some health problem, I didn’t waste time crying or moaning or complaining about it. I just asked what I could do about it and got it done. It usually amounted to removing some part of my body or taking medicine that did unpleasant things to me. But I survived by reminding myself it could be worse, and endured.
I developed the habit of looking for some lesson I could learn from the situation, no matter how dire it was. Every August of my life is exhausting, expensive, and very exasperating. But I have found there is always something I can learn, too, and I love to learn. Life lessons are rarely cheap, and never easy, but once they are learned, the rest of the classes are often simpler and the tests easy to take. May the seasons of your life pass not quickly, but as pleasantly as possible, and may you not have a difficult time learning whatever lesson is there for you.