When Things Break

In most all cases when things break it is unexpected.  It generally happens all of a sudden, even though sometimes there are telltale signs of something going wrong.  If we take a twig or stick in our hands and continue to apply pressure it may make sounds, and may show signs of strain before finally breaking.  However, when the break does eventually come, it usually doesn’t come gradually, but all at one time.

So, if most everything in life can break, given enough strain and pressure, why are we surprised when people break?  For as objects in life, people are subjected to pressure, strain, twisting, and when there is no release people can break.  Usually, we are surprised when this happens, even if it happens to our own self.

In some rare cases bad, bad things happen when people break.  But, mostly when people break there is an outpouring of anger, frustration, loud words, gestures, exclamations, etc…

Of course, wouldn’t it be nice if we put on our rose colored glasses and pretended that these things don’t happen?  Or if they do happen, they happen to someone else, not us.  But, I’m not certain any of us are completely immune.

We are mostly taught to keep our emotions in check, and to stay in control.  This is mostly good, but there can be circumstances where this is not good.  To keep frustrations, anger, resentment, under wraps for extended periods of time can lead to exhaustion, bitterness, and an eventual break down of our built-in controls.

So, what can be done?  Well, it depends on who you are, doesn’t it?  If you are on the receiving end of a break down I suppose one of the worst things you can do is to keep telling the person, “Calm down!”…  As staying calm is not one of the highest priorities in the person’s mind who is experiencing a break down.

Perhaps the best thing we can do is to realize that a momentary breakdown is not an unusual thing, and is not something that God overlooked or thought would never happen.  In fact, he designed us with built-in safety release mechanisms that help to ensure that we can survive these momentary earthquakes.

Sometimes breakdowns catch us totally by surprise.  I remember a personal event in my own life, back in 1982.  Within a period of about 2 – 3 months time I had experienced the following events in my life:

  • Had a new edition added to the family – a baby boy
  • Quit a job, and got hired into a new position in a brand new firm
  • Moved the family across country to a place where we had no friends or relatives
  • Buried my father

You might say I had some stressful things going on, all at the same time.  One Sunday I was at church, and had to go back out to the car to retrieve my Bible.  On the way back to the church the pastor stopped me, and asked the simple question, “Are you alright?”  To this very day I can’t tell you what happened, but I suddenly broke down into tears right then and there.  Something had broken…  The stress and strain had been handled, and kept under control, but there was an unguarded moment when a simple question brought it all out, as I realized that, “No, I’m not alright.”

This is a tough subject, but let me add a few notes to this topic that are probably controversial in today’s society:

  1. Breakdowns do occasionally happen
  2. It is not something unusual, it is human
  3. We have more things to be stressed about today then ever before
  4. A breakdown is not the end, but a beginning
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One Response to “When Things Break”

  1. Barbara McGuire Says:

    This is a great blog. Through my own personal experiences when I felt I was at the “end of my rope” I have always relied on that scripture that says He will not put on us more than we bear, so for me it was my choice. I have always said, “Either you believe it or you don’t! I always chose to “believe” and He has always given the strength to make it through. Blessings….

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