Your child is in trouble. Perhaps he has been arrested, run away, affiliated with a gang or turned to drugs. Or maybe it is simply a matter of failing grades, poor school attendance and general disobedience. You feel angry, discouraged, heartbroken, and ineffective as a parent. Finally, there is a place to take your grieving soul. In Tragedy's Ark,you will find authentic comfort and begin the process of your parent-child relationship transformation.
• Be happy
• Find peace
• Love your child and yourself.
It's possible, and you're about to learn how!
Praise for Tragedy's Ark
"Never is there a time when parents feel more hopeless than when their child is on the edge of a cliff of drugs, alcohol, or crime. Jayne Garrison has given us an enjoyable, short, to-the-point read on successfully getting through each day of a crisis with your child. I am impressed with the depth of her work and recommend this book."
-Christopher Ian Chenoweth, Positive Christianity Ministries, www.positiveChristianity.org
"A wonderful source of comfort and wisdom for hurting parents, written by someone who truly understands. The easy-to-read format makes it a win-win selection for anyone in family crisis."
-Laura Silva Quesada, President, Silva International
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.33(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Tragedy's ArkA Book of Comfort for Disheartened Parents
By Jayne Garrison
Balboa PressCopyright © 2011 Jayne Garrison
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSmile - Maybe He Isn't Calling From Jail
Keep the faith. Stay upbeat. Smile. Be happy. Be Kind. Count your blessings. Never give up. It could be worse.
You've heard these words a million times, but never were they more unwelcome than now, as you sit at the kitchen table mulling over your child's latest disaster. Typically, there's no need putting a name to the crisis—they are always different, each one seeming a little more problematic than its predecessor. John has been arrested for stealing. You've just come home from the police station. Tiffany has been using the latest fad drug. You were the one who found her stash. Lonnie has posed for pornographic photos which were somehow discovered by the law. You're scared to answer the phone. Cory has been expelled from school for carrying a gun in his backpack. Plans for graduation with a scholarship have flown out the window. Sunny has pushed the results of a pregnancy test in front of you. It's positive. Chad has hesitantly revealed his sexual preference. There's no way you can tell his father.
Tristan has been arrested. They think he killed someone, and you're afraid he might have. It is, in fact, this "fear" that seems to be the underlying factor in all your emotions these days.
"The older Todd gets, the less we can do to undo the damage; or to protect him from himself. The stakes get higher," one father confided in a moment of sorrowful stress.
How well you understand.
On the other hand, your situation may not be at all so dramatic. Maybe you're simply dealing with Jason who lies, or Katy who refuses to come home at curfew. Perhaps it's Allison, who blatantly cheats on exams, or Damien who sneaks out of the house at night to smoke with friends. It could even be that you're struggling with 42-year-old Greg who won't get a job, and insists upon living with you, or 50-year-old Margie whose drug problems have taken the family on a series of roller coaster rides for the past 30 years. Perhaps it's just the overwhelming sadness of being a parent to a grown child who no longer wants to share his life or the joy of his children with you.
Whatever your particular problem is, the fact of the matter remains that something went terribly wrong in your family dynamics, and you're not sure what or how it occurred. Until now, you've equated problem children with bad parenting. But suddenly, you're confused. You don't see yourself as such a bad parent. As far as you know, you've never been unloving, uncaring or unfit. You feel pretty sure that you taught the right values- and you know for a fact that you've had your child in church and held him in your prayers right next to your heart. At the same time, moments like this make your ego look around for an event or a person to blame, and with society telling us that "it's all caused by something Mom and Dad didn't or did do," this little part of you pushes itself to the forefront to be cleared of all fault. You immediately start to examine every little action-every little nuance of your parenting life- for the culprit of your problem, but quickly discover that it's impossible for you to remember just what kind of a parent you really have been.
You're no longer sure if you were truly strong, authoritative, and unyielding in the things that mattered. You're no longer sure if you touched enough, praised when appropriate or listened with both ears. You wonder if you disciplined correctly-were not too lax or too strict. Even when you suspect that someone else such as the school is at fault, you wonder what you could have done or said that would have made a difference.
And how about God? Where was he in all of this you want to know? Better yet, where is he now? Suddenly your thinking becomes a kaleidoscope of contradictions, and you begin toying with the idea that perhaps God could have made things turn out differently if only you had been the right kind of parent-the kind of parent he wanted you to be. Whatever that was. If only he had loved you as much as you thought he did. If only you had been lovable enough for him to favor you with his love.
Your mind rocks with emotions so varied, you don't know what to address first. Should you try to curb your anger? Seek comfort for your hurt? Try counseling for your fears? Concentrate on good health habits to remedy your stress? Look for deeper religion in a different church? How can you possibly know what to do next, when your child seems to have destroyed both his life and yours with a single thoughtless act carrying unredeemable consequences?
Now take a deep breath and as you exhale, allow yourself to envision all these troubling thoughts leaving you with exhalation. The picture is not as formidable as you may have thought, because life is not always what it seems. Ironically, though most of us intellectually acknowledge this statement as true, few of us take the time to examine life events with the kind of questions that would enable us to prove it so. Perhaps this is because, stepping outside of the comfortably "known" requires us not only to think differently, but to see differently and act differently. It asks us to question the status quo—maybe even challenge religious and social dogmas that have been in place and served as a guiding light throughout the ages of man.
Yet, when we do choose to view life through this different perspective and agree to let go of at least a few of those long-formed opinions, life becomes less threatening, less nonsensical and easier to live. What's more, we find ourselves privileged to take part in a new spiritual drama, unfolding not in churches or other religious arenas, but in the heart of the human family itself. Remarkably, we are allowed to see that the essence of truth Jesus spoke about in the Bible was not in "thinking new thoughts," "fighting spiritual demons," or even in "performing spectacular miracles." In the end, when all was said and done, Jesus surprised his followers with a truth, that while famously profound, was also so simple in concept, that it is uniformly overlooked in favor of more complicated, high-sounding theology. The essence of this powerful truth is love.
The directions for finding your way to this truth and making it work for you are easily stated. See only with the eyes of love. Speak only with the voice of love. Act only in the ways of love. When we follow these tenets, the situation that now causes you to sit at the table with your head in your hands stops being a tragedy and becomes an opportunity to do what you were created to do; what you have been commanded to do; what you know how to do, whether you realize it now or not-and that is love. More than blame, more than criticism, more than judgment and certainly more than anger-this is a moment that needs your love.
Perhaps you think I'm making light of a very serious problem in your life, and that this is not what you needed to hear right now. If so, let me assure you, I have sat in your seat at that very table of despair. I know what you're feeling, but I happen to have encouraging news. I have discovered that Jesus comes to us in these human moments, where it is often easier to see him than it is in the perfect ones. Perhaps this is because, from the beginning, God came down to our human level to teach us about love. He introduced his child to the world in a human form we would recognize and understand-a child who would bring dramatic changes to the human family at large. Children are like that. They force us to change through learning and loving, and this is what can happen to you now.
No, it's not the life you once dreamed of. So far, your parenting experience has been like a vacation gone bad. Instead of the happy, picture-perfect postcard memories, you've been left with the flat tires and wrong turns. It's not where you wanted to go. But sometimes God brings us to places we don't want to be in order to teach us the lesson we are supposed to learn.
I ask you to step back and look again at the situation in front of you, but this time, from a different perspective. Instead of feeling unfairly attacked, consider yourself special-consider yourself loved- you have just been handed proof that God is not through with you, yet. He has come to you through your child with the promise of your personal growth. He's not telling you to solve the problem, or change the scenario. That part is in his hands and under his complete control. He is simply challenging you to love.
So, it is in keeping with this challenge, that I offer a collection of positive ideas shared in the spirit of love. Think of them as ideas to ponder, to re- work, to try out, and finally, to make your own. I want you to be comfortable with the fact that this isn't a book that has to be read front to back, but one that may be worked through at any pace that feels good, starting on any page that seems right. It's been said that the deepest connection between people is the recognition of mutual knowledge-an inner knowing of what the other person is going through. As you consider each idea presented here, remember that you and I are "knowing" friends, and my love follows you with support on the journey ahead.
My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. Luke 1:46-48
Chapter TwoIf I'm Here, Where is God?
A PRAYER (Well, Sort of)
Listen to me, God, if you are out there—Listen to me. Are you there? I think I am going to die. I think this moment is too horrible—too traumatic—too hostile—too cold for anyone to "make it" through. I think I am living a nightmare that I will never wake up from.
What you want to know: Will I survive? Is God there for me?
What you need to know: Yes on both counts. The truth is that God is always with us, and no matter how much this moment may feel like the end of the world, it's not. The clock keeps ticking and the world spins on. But, you may feel as if you can't live through it. Your chest feels so tight that you have to catch your breath, while your stomach is twisted into knots of turmoil that cause you to rock back and forth as if riding in a small boat on dangerous waters. In one swift action, your child has toppled the world you know. Yet, here you are, still alive and going nowhere.
So, why do you feel so physically defeated? Perhaps because of the nature of the experience. Depending upon its severity, a family crisis comes at you like a personal tsunami. The ugly news is delivered to you with a hit of energy that may literally knock the breath out of you. For a moment, you feel "pulled under" by the force of the giant wave, and you wonder if you'll ever be able to "come up for air." In reality, the bad news is energy. Imagine little bits and pieces of negativity coming together until it forms a big, black ball heading straight for you. This is the force that affects you so strongly. However, it need not overcome you. You can block its power from penetrating your psyche by learning to stay in the present moment.
Yes, it's a buzz cliché—a trendy sounding phrase that doesn't mean a thing—until put into action. It's something we hear a lot about, but seldom act on, because we're not sure how or where to begin. We may not even be sure that it's truly possible, given our state of distress. That's okay, perfectly normal and, more common than not. Nevertheless, just for now, try to be trusting, try to relax and lean into the moment. I am about to tell you exactly how to stay there, and it's easy.
For starters, it often helps to go within and center yourself first with prayer and meditation. In a moment of crisis, this may be nothing more than asking God for help and then, focusing on your breathing with a series of long inhalations followed by slow exhalations. Staying in the present is concentrating on the now. It's not going over what has just happened or worrying about what might occur in the future, because the present has no beginning and no ending. This is not a new idea to most of us, but putting it into practice is not often accomplished, because we simply don't put effort into exploring this space.
If you are having trouble with the concept of now, try describing what you are feeling this very minute. Write it down. You will probably find that this simple exercise is very revealing as to what the present actually is. With few exceptions such as physical pain or terror-the present is not usually as unbearable as we think. It just is, and you just are- within it.
It certainly is all right to speak your mind to God. If anything, this displays a profound belief in his very existence. However, it is important to learn to thank God for at least one thing every day. Gratitude multiplies goodness. This is a law of the universe that simply has to be learned. For now, while things are difficult, stick to the basics. You don't have to pretend that everything horrible is good-just find that one little thing out there that's not so bad. Today, it could be this minute.
Pray With Me Now
Thank you, God, for this minute in time. I am breathing. My blood is circulating. I am allowing my mind to empty itself of thought. Right this minute, I can honestly say that nothing bad is happening. It's just you and me, God. So, this minute is precious, and I thank you for it. Amen
*Hint: Watch your pets. They will teach you how to live in the present. Study nature. It, too, will show you how to "be." There is something sacred and precious about the moment at hand because it truly is God's gift to us. This tiny increment of time is what belongs to us—what we can be sure about. Everything else is an unknown. Enjoy your gift, and savor it as proof that God is indeed, "out there."
"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Matthew 6:27
Chapter ThreeBlueprint for Comfort
Dear God What am I supposed to do? I'm praying but I don't feel especially loving. I feel angry and hurt. Don't you know a stiff upper lip is only for kewpie dolls? How am I suppose to focus on love when I can barely put one foot in front of the other?
What you want to know: What is something real that I can do right now to make myself feel like going on?
What you need to know: Use soothing methods for heart-breaking conditions. Remember that the body is a sensitive machine. Yelling, quarrelling and worrying will eventually reward you with nothing more than health problems. Replace these reactions with a soothing plan of action. Build an ark—figuratively speaking, of course.
In the Bible story of Noah and the Ark, God instructed Noah to build the ark before the flood. The detailed instructions given to him became Noah's plan of action. The actual ark was his refuge once the storm hit. This is what you will be doing-building an atmosphere of soothing refuge to rest in during stormy times. Think of it as your emotional ark.
Building inner strength with scripture and sound thinking has always been a good way to prepare for difficult times. You may have even heard of such activity referred to as a type of "ark" building. However, in this instance, you will be carrying the idea a step further by constructing an actual physical environment.
Spend a few minutes now, laying the ground work for your plan of action. Begin by thinking about what makes you feel good. Include the names of people you like to talk to, places you like to visit, foods you like to cook and activities you like to partake in. Write your choices in a notebook that you can consult when a crisis leaves you too frazzled to think.
Excerpted from Tragedy's Ark by Jayne Garrison Copyright © 2011 by Jayne Garrison. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsChapter 1 Smile - Maybe He Isn't Calling From Jail....................11
Chapter 2 If I'm Here, Where is God?....................17
Chapter 3 Blueprint for Comfort....................21
Chapter 4 Who's to Blame?....................25
Chapter 5 About Those Other Lovely Parents....................27
Chapter 6 When It Hurts So Bad....................31
Chapter 7 Let Go and Let God....................35
Chapter 8 Judge Not....................39
Chapter 9 Choose Joy!....................43
Chapter 10 Unwanted Gifts....................47
Chapter 11 The Anger Storm....................51
Chapter 12 Word Power....................57
Chapter 13 Could Badgering Count?....................63
Chapter 14 What Now?....................67
Chapter 15 Lonely Hearts....................71
Chapter 16 Never Mind, God....................75
Chapter 17 The Bad, the Good and the Great....................79
Chapter 18 A New Story and it's Yours....................83
Chapter 19 Forgive and Really Forget?....................87
Chapter 20 What's Left to Do?....................93
Chapter 21 The End of the Story....................99
Chapter 22 Postscript to Sorrow....................103
The P.S. I Love You Section Extra Goodies to Help You on Your Way....................109