Feeling sorry for ourselves

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
Let’s be brave and admit it. We all feel sorry for ourselves at some point and time in our lives. Perhaps we have lost someone dear to us, suffered financial reversal, had our good will spoken evil of, or maybe it just seems to be our nature. In realty, there could be valid reasons why this particular year or time of the year is just simply too hard to bear. For some reason, there seems to be a lot of this feeling going round this year and it is early in the season.

As I sat in my favorite chair reflecting on my own life, I thought of good reasons why I should be feeling sorry for myself (and I know better than to dwell on sadness and sorrow). My husband has been dead for three whole years and some days, it seems like only yesterday or last week. I have two children living in Florida with very busy lives. This is the busiest season of the year for the airline industry where my other daughter works here in the area. My grandchildren are grown or almost so, and they, too, are scattered. My Steven is in the US Navy far from home, where he will spend his third Christmas away from family and close friends. We have three more in college in Tennessee, and other parts of my family are back home in Georgia. My property was heavily damaged by Hurricane Harvey’s flooding, and I suffered a slight stroke. We have lost so many family members and dear friends these past few years and I miss them greatly especially this time of the year. One can never say my life is dull or we don’t have anything to do.

Never one to be a prophet of doom and gloom for long, and certainly not one to dwell on feeling sorry for myself, I got up, dusted off my mind, and opened the computer thinking I would get busy and do some much needed work. This, by the way, is my most often way to curb loneliness, disappointment, or sorrow. I had posted something about an unfortunate incident where a criminal took advantage of me to the tune of $4,000. I had sold Ted’s beloved RV and allowed the man to pay a down payment of $1,000, and the balance of $4,000 on a monthly basis. He was in need of a place to sleep after a serious accident, and I did not think I would use the RV enough to warrant keeping it. After carefully checking three local references, verifying his job, and listening to my sweet neighbor who first discovered his predicament, I wrote out a contract, took a friend to the signing, and allowed him to take possession. Before the first month’s payment was due me, I found he had skipped town, two of the references were most untruthful, and that he had a criminal record a mile long.

I have been in ministry for many years and know and realize these things happen even when we have the very best of intentions. My post was basically to warn others of his character, or lack thereof, and to keep them from getting scammed. The devil put it in my mind that the $4,000 owed me sure would make Christmas a little nicer and that perhaps I could travel to see my grandson on base. I allowed myself to nurse these sordid feelings for a few minutes.

Opening my computer, I was surprised to see a number of emails and texts recounting similar instances and giving me advice as how to handle the situation. Some were Texas ways of justice and I laughed at those knowing the people making the suggestions would not carry them out (or I hoped they would not). One dear lady whom I have never met sent me one of the kindest notes. Christmas CheerIt read in part, “I am so sorry someone took advantage of you. I believe in God to make this right somehow. You help so many, and touch so many lives that you are not even aware of each week. God bless you.”

I can tell you that those emails and text messages helped to turn my sour mood completely around in just a few minutes of reading. Folks, my point is that we never know what is going on in someone’s heart and mind, and that during the holidays, a portion of our ministry may be to speak words of kindness to hurting hearts, take the time to send a quick note, or pick up the phone to make a telephone call of encouragement.

How hard can this be to accomplish? It can be very difficult because we are all very busy, or so it seems. That one dear woman, whom I’ve never met, helped to change a wintry looking afternoon into something much more pleasant and her encouragement gave me the push I needed to sit down and write and reach out to others. It does not take money to offer encouragement. It does take time. Are we willing to invest that time to help one or more people? Let’s honestly think of a list of folks that could use our encouragement. I still believe in old-fashioned Christmas cards and think that might be one way we could truly spread cheer. Merry Christmas to our faithful readers over the years.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788, or


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