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    Chris’ Story: Nothing Gold Can Stay

    Chris felt battered and bruised by life.

    When he got into his car, it seemed like all the other drivers were idiots; driving to work was a real chore. Arriving at work didn’t really make him feel any better because even though he never knew what the day would bring, he always felt underappreciated and overworked.

    It wasn’t any better at home, where Chris felt vaguely disapproved of by his wife and consistently disrespected by his children. At 47, he couldn’t get up after sitting for any length of time without something somewhere hurting.

    Drinking brought him a sense of relief.

    Alone in his study, a couple of drinks were just what Chris needed to take the edge off the day and build up a warm, hazy buffer against the problems that kept grim vigil in the hall. He knew they wouldn’t go away, but for a time he didn’t have to think about them. He didn’t have to think about anything. Just drink is scotch, watch the television, and shut out the world.

    Chris is like so many people who choose the temporary fix of their excessity over the deeper work of the uncovering the source of suffering in their lives. Chris, like so many people, chose the death of a thousands cuts over emotional surgery to correct the true issue. They keep on believing their pain will go away if they continue to plaster it over with an excessity. The problem is that such a shortcut solution has no hope of lasting.

    NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY

    This life is based upon impermanence.

    Psalm 144:4 says “Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.” Anything that we create to be lasting is, because of our own fleeting nature, short lived at best.

    I think one of the most poignant descriptions of the impermanence of life is the famous poem by Robert Frost called “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” It is, appropriately, very brief and speaks about the fragile nature of nature itself, beginning with the golden miracle of a tiny leaf. Such a miracle, though, is temporary, with the inevitable withering of that golden leaf, and leaf by leaf after that. The poem ends by lamenting,

    So dawn goes downt ot day. / Nothing gold can stay.

    We hold on to our excessities like they are golden leaves, but they were never meant to stay. Any comfort they produce cannot last.

    Source: Chapter 3, “Our Need for Comfort” in Gotta Have It! by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, Inc.
     
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