Down But Not Out



“But there ain’t no cure for the summer time blues!” Well, it is summer and I have the blues! Life has made me a bit of a punching bag lately, and I feel down.


If you follow this rural writer, you know that my pastor has cancer and he recently resigned from our church. It is hard when a friend, mentor and encouraging person leaves your long term relationship. He is still around, but when a shepherd resigns from his sheep, there is a custom that he doesn’t stick around the church. We miss him, but we all know that God is a God of change.


That is why He invented seasons. If you don’t believe me, take a trip through Ecclesiastes.


The church is just one area where change is a given. I have also had changes in my family. I have a granddaughter who came out as transgender last spring. Although she grew up back east, and our lives have been distant, I have made efforts to draw closer since she/he entered adulthood. She has been receiving counseling which is great, but it has been at a university, so no telling, but probably not Christian guidance.


I have checked and there is very little guidance out there from a Christian perspective. Anyway, her questioning her gender was upsetting, but when I heard she had some minor surgery, it took the wind out of me. The surgery went well, and he is recovering quickly and his mood is elevated. Notice how the gender changed in my writing? Well, it is changing in my family.


In our lives there are different domains. Another important area is work. I have a counseling center and one of the teams has decided to leave. It all makes sense, but the last six weeks has been a little too much change for this old dog. When you get up years, change is a little more unsettling. There have been some other stuff, friends in the hospital and of course summer is here!


What to do with the summertime blues! Well, the Word is clear. If you want a better attitude, go to the “beatitudes” in Matthew 5. I encourage you to read it. I reminds me that when the going gets tough, the tough turn to Him. Right now I am feeling a little poor in spirit, weak, meek and I am mourning.


That is the trifecta of tough times. But God is good! All the time! His word also says that I am blessed, and that is true. One thing I learned in the 12 Steps programs is about the “attitude of gratitude” which simply means to counts one’s blessings. I have much to be thankful for, in spite of all the changes in and around me. My wife and I are rock solid. Although we have health issues, our kids and grandkids are all healthy. My financial stress has increased a lot, but no chance of losing shelter because the house is paid off. The list of things that life gives me go on and on.


It is hot as blazes outside, but inside I am having a bit of winter of discontent. “This too shall pass” is another God-given one-liner that I remember. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” is what Paul penciled two thousand years ago, and it is true today. This is winter, and I will keep writing until it is spring, and the next season is just around the corner. So hang in there buddy, keep your chin up off the floor and remember the trials of Joseph in Genesis or the Book of Job. Those guys went a lot farther down and how they were lifted up.


Well I feel better and hope you will too. If you are feeling great, give God some glory. But good or bad, I will praise Him in all circumstances. Have a great summer and my next column will be reflections on a trip with my grandson to Montana. No it is not the grandson from back east!


  1. If you think this Rural Reader Writes, sounds a little different, it is because it is in the wrong place! Not a big deal, this essay belonged in the religion section. I suspects many of my rural writer readers are Christian, because my work has that flavor. This essay, “Down and Out” was a “Men’s Message” which is a regular column found under the religion section. No harm, no fowl! I posted this comment to bring a little clarity to a confused world. Stay cool folks! Jimbo

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