This week my furnace stopped working. I live in Minnesota. This is a bad combination.
I like to consider myself a pretty handy guy and able to figure out the cause of most of the issues that come up when it comes to home repair. So with the pressure of a house that was getting cold I dug in. I got some of my tools and pulled apart the furnace. There were a couple obvious things that looked at right away. Check the air filter, check the igniter, check the intake, etc.
As I started to look at these things I began to feel a real sense of gratitude. I was thankful to God for all of the things He had allowed me to experience that had prepared me for that moment. One of my favorite memories growing up was watching my Dad work on the family car. We drove clunkers most of the time so there was plenty of work to do. This gave me a love for things mechanical. I like to pull things apart and see why they work. I like to fix things that I know nothing about because that is how I will know about it. My Dad showed me what my position is in relation to my “stuff”; that I don’t have to be a slave to the things I own but rather I can use those things as tools for experiencing life instead of going through life just to maintain my things.
I was thankful to coworkers and friends over the years who had allowed me to come alongside them when they worked on something so I could learn. Their teaching me about the things that they knew and once in a while my teaching them what I knew in the context of relationship. Building each other up and making each other better. It was a boss who let me watch him fix a furnace at work, even though it had nothing to do with my job description, which allowed me to know what a furnace igniter even was.
I was thankful for the support offered to myself and my family of a place to stay for the night if I couldn’t get things working. I realize not everyone has the support system that I have and it is at times like this that I remember not to take that for granted.
And finally, today I was thankful for the service person who came to my house and looked over my work and fixed what still needed to be fixed. I was thankful that he didn’t criticize my amateur attempt at staying warm. He simply fixed the things that still needed fixing and let me know what he was doing so I would know what to check if it happened again. He wasn’t condescending, he was courteous and professional. I was a person, not just another furnace job.
When it comes to mental health I need to remember the opportunities that come with my daily struggles. Am I happy about having the issues that I have…no, just like I wasn’t sitting around praying for my furnace to go out. But just because I have them does not mean that I have no reason to hope either. Over the years people have given me the support and the tools I need to make it through each day. And when things come up that are beyond my skillset I have professionals that I can call for help. I don’t always get what I want in the situation but I do get what I need.
If you are struggling today I want you to know that there is hope for your future. Over the years God has given you the things you need to get through what you are going through. Even if that means that He gave you the ability to dial a phone and call 911 for help. Just please remember that even though you can’t necessarily fix this on your own doesn’t mean that you are a failure. It doesn’t mean you are weak. It means that you are in a process. And each time you go through this process you come out better on the other side.
If you are in a place where you can’t see the blessings through the black, you are not alone. If you are in a place where you cannot see the purpose for the pain, you are not alone. This doesn’t mean that what is written above doesn’t apply to you. Sometimes the things we need are not as easy to explain or to see. I didn’t know that the furnace I watched get fixed 15 years ago would have an impact on the furnace I own today. Life is like that sometimes. Over time you will have the opportunity see through the dark. There are tools people have to offer that will help you in that.
As hard as it sounds to think of getting through another day please know that you do matter. You are worth it. You do have reason to hope for a better tomorrow.
To find a Celebrate Recovery near you visit www.celebraterecovery.com and click the Find a Group tab. There are people waiting to support you as you move forward. No judgment, just healing.
National Director of Mental Health for Celebrate Recovery