Friday, April 19, 2019

They killed Jesus, Dead, they killed him, Good

Good Friday we call it. And the resurrection happened. But Saturday never rates a mention. Why is this?
Saturday, we may know for sure; Jesus was killed, dead.
And this was GOOD NEWS. It IS good news. Dead. Not alive anymore. Kaput. John 19:33 says it plainly:
“But when [the Roman soldiers] came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead…”
They killed Jesus, dead.
He wasn’t living any longer. The time of life had passed. He was gone.
Anyone who wants to discredit the Christian faith will  attempt to install doubt over the fact of Jesus’ death. 
If Jesus didn’t die, he didn’t die as payment for humankind’s sin. 
If Jesus didn’t die, he could not be resurrected. 
If Jesus didn’t die, he did not overcome death.
But Jesus DID die.
And Saturday was a day when he was DEAD. For the whole day. The most comprehensive victory of Creator over evil, of his creation over evil, had taken place. History. Done. Finished.
God’s eternal plan, his work of salvific art, accomplished. Nothing left to do. The enemy vanquished.
I don’t know about you, but in my case, that’s occurred on this earth, in an irrefutably physical way, about 1,936 years before I was even conceived. Done.
Nothing at all could I add to it before I was born. My existence changes nothing. That Easter Saturday, the proof.
How on earth do we wrap our heads and hearts around this GOD who would stoop to live as we live; to teach us what is kept for us in Scripture; to show us his character in what he did and who he healed, how and why; to experience all of the pain we might; the betrayal, the scourging, the mocking, the universal rejection?
They killed Jesus, dead.
They killed him, good.
It is GOOD. And what was GOOD remains so. It’s GOOD on Saturday; Sunday’s still coming.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Monday, April 15, 2019

A Redemption Ready for the Required Time

There’s probably thousands of people the world over presently writing about the Tiger Woods story of redemption. It’s so true. Redemption came crouching, stooping lowly, for a decade and more.
That’s what makes this redemption story even more special. It took the humility of showing up to years of ‘below-par’ performances, of failing to place, of being unimpressive, to prove the champion’s character.
I don’t know the first thing about Tiger Woods the man, but I do know what eleven years in the wilderness says. He was top of the world until the bottom fell out of it. It was the scandal of 2009. Perhaps it’s just that he could do nothing other than play the game he loves. Maybe the world just loves an underdog story.
One thing we can know, however, is faithfulness in any pursuit is tantamount to a borrowed success.
Whoever sets their mind to a thing, giving all of themselves to it, will without doubt move toward that thing. They do and they must.
Actions of faithfulness are a redemption being readied at the required time. It is a fait accompli.
If anyone has lost all of what they ever hoped for, their hope is utterly reliant on an against-all-odds redemption that will see the restoration of their fortunes. It may take ten years, like with Tiger Woods. It could take fifteen or twenty, but what would we do otherwise. We must forget what the past has cost us and forge forward, headlong, a day and one action and interaction at a time, into the future.
That is faithfulness; the negation of the present cost in the hope of redemption because faith refused to be swallowed by death. Such faith is the hope of resurrection, where redemption is ascension.


Photo: Sky News.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The weirdest, best Counselling session I ever attended

August 9, 2007. A date etched in my memory. For all the best reasons. I’d been in a clinical depression for at least two months. I’d been married three. I went into my second marriage clearly too idealistic. And I hadn’t foreseen the difficulties that we would be presented with. But, by August 9 I was ready for a revelation.
I can remember going into my manager’s office after coming back from the session and being clearly shocked by what I’d heard. But such a shock helped me turn a corner at just a time when I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I only ever went to this employee assistance program counsellor once. I can’t even recall his name. But his wise brusqueness was what my soul quietly needed. Normally, I find it quite hard to rationalise how someone so terse can think they’re loving.
But this counsellor listened to what I had to say, and he told me I wasn’t depressed. I was grieving. I was grieving the old life. I was grieving because I’d entered marriage, which is a drastically new way of living for a single man. My career was at a crossroad. And I was grieving in some part because I was getting to know who my wife really was. She was stronger than I thought she was — which I have later come to learn is such good news! But I struggled to cope early on.
On one level I was annoyed because he didn’t label me as I wished to be labelled. But at a deeper level, I craved to be in recovery. I craved to be understood, but what I craved even more was to be better.
I left that one-and-only session with a spring in my step, cured of my need to remain depressed. It was as if I’d been given license to live, for that time, without the shackles of mental illness.
As history would have it, I’d succumb to depression and anxiety again in 2011-2012, and again there were mini bouts in 2015-2016. And again, I can see the grief in those times too. Grief and depression can often be interchangeable, especially if we’re sensitive around our circumstances, which most of us are.
Sometimes we’re taken through things that seem absurd, yet it’s only at the end of it, with a reasonable mind, that we can see the benefit of it for the pain we bear.
Sometimes, just occasionally, you go to a counselling session ready to hear what you don’t expect to hear, and you don’t even know it beforehand. Somehow, this was one of those occasions for me.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

What we Owe the Wounded Healer

Doesn’t always apply, but so often it does. Those who, per Michael J Fox, live with the condition are the experts.
It was a topic of discussion on my lunch duty one day recently, “Why is it that counsellors and psychologists always seem to have had the most messed up of lives?” Well, I do know counsellors, psychologists, pastors, social workers, etc, who have not had messed up lives. Some of them are brilliant at what they do. But the majority of those who serve in the helping professions have had traumatic pasts from which they launch their ministry of service.
It reminds me of a trainee when I did my counselling studies who we’d gotten to know, who up and left at one point because it had dawned on her that she wasn’t ‘there’ yet. She couldn’t proceed and she knew it. So many of my compatriots in that year group had stuff they’d reconciled or were reconciling. I myself had a pivotal revelation that year; crucial for my actual ability to do pastoral work.
It’s like my two AA sponsors, one who guided me through The Steps, the other who took an interest in me, and pastored me back to the church and to Jesus; both from damaged hoods. And the pastor who had the vision to quickly put me into leadership so I could be around wiser men and women more often. And our marriage counsellor, who bore her own soul when it counted. Countless others who wore their brokenness and chose never again to deny it. What’s most transformational about the ministry of reconciliation is the honesty indwelt of a shared humanity.
I know I could not help those with depression without having had four bouts myself — two induced by grief.
I wouldn’t comprehend what helping someone with panic attacks would require if I’d not had at least seven salient experiences of having my momentary world implode.
I wouldn’t have any idea how to help someone whose identity has been ripped and torn in two by divorce if I hadn’t been divorced.
I couldn’t recoil with sympathy for a parent with a child with special needs had I not had my own.
Had I not been dashed against the rocks of my own rock bottom, I would not truly understand what it costs another to be smashed against their own.
Had I not experienced the guilt and shame of marital failure, I’d have no idea of the courage that’s forged for the simple fact that authenticity we gain as healing is God’s redeeming compensation. Incredibly, God glorifies us even as we glorify him.
And yet there are many experiences I haven’t had. But I’ve had enough gut-wrenching life experiences to serve me well in the area of care.
Oh, I praise the experience that wounded healers have. They can take another person into their healing having endured their own healing. They know it can be done. They know how it worked for them.
I’m not sure the wounded healer thinks we owe them anything — I’m sure they don’t. But how good is it that God actually uses this abysmal material for his glory. That is hope for the suffering, that they too will lead others through theirs, by the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
Given time, God will use the pain you’re going through to help you lead others through theirs by the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and care. That’s not the purpose of you going through what you’re going through, but it’s a powerfully meaningful byproduct.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Trust and Joy amid Aloneness and Trial

It’s in the darkest measure of pain that we look up in a cry for help or to shake our fist. Sure, there are other responses, but by far and away the commonest response is to be livid at God that such a thing has been done against us. It is a rarer response to look up and seek help. It is rarer still to look up and praise the Lord in a season where hope is laid waste, where joy has been vanquished, where peace may be a distant memory.
Then we might open our Bible to the majestically decisive ending of Habakkuk:
“Though the fig tree does not blossom,
    and no fruit is on the vines;
though the produce of the olive fails,
    and the fields yield no food;
though the flock is cut off from the fold,
    and there is no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will exult in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    and makes me tread upon the heights.”
— Habakkuk 3:17-20 (NRSV)
We read that passage and we’re struck by ‘though’, a symphony of three, and that ‘yet’ that follows.
Those of us who have been there, in unfathomable seasons of loss, where all vision of a normal life was swept away on a torrent that left nothing in its wake, know the certainty of the situation in focus.
Those who have never experienced such life-ending loss possibly don’t read this as a significant passage. But those who have are struck by the hope in such truth. They come back to passages like this. They make out of these passages life words — words they carry with them, that inspire hope during especially harried times; and indeed, these are words they carry in their hearts, gratefully, for the rest of their lives. Mine was Galatians 6:9 — “Do not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up.”
This Habakkuk passage reminds us that though the world would give up on us if we were unfruitful, God does not; indeed, that God is especially present with those who experience a vacuum of favour who also trust him implicitly. Those who call upon their Lord in pain, acknowledging their reliance on him who will eventually vindicate them, will experience the joy of the Lord.

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

Thursday, April 4, 2019

What you’ll only see when you’re suffering

The Presence of God reframes everything in suffering when we insist our Lord hear us.
I don’t glorify things I know nothing about. I discovered these truths in loss that gained me what no ‘success’ in life could ever give me. Those who have borne witness to these life-transforming truths also attest.
The abundant life Jesus speaks of
is not a life full of worldly favour and prestige,
but a life that is full of the spiritual blessing
of the knowledge of the Presence of God.
This is a vexing matter for many Christians. They would sorely like to taste this. But without suffering greatly they cannot. There’s the paradox.
It’s only when we lose what we would never let go of,
that we may gain what our hearts have always craved.
Unpack that. It’s only when we’re suffering that we cry out to God alone to be shown a sign. Even in feeling utter forlorn and forsaken we experience the polar opposite. God is right there! Amid the turmoil, whispering perseverance into our dejection, and compelling resilience into our despair. Not within the moment, but within the season, and certainly as we look back upon the season in review.
What we can only see when we’re suffering is the Presence of God in our pain. As we endure what tempts us to reject ourselves. We hear God’s whisper, “Don’t!” We feel God’s care, “Gently!” We see God’s Spirit move, even as we witness things occur in such weird ways it could only be God.
In our suffering suddenly God arrives,
and we discover God is real.
And when we make such a discovery,
suffering is the burden we’re willing to bear,
just in knowing that God is real in our midst.
The transformation we’ve all desired from our beginning only takes place as a compensation for something that costs us just as much: suffering.
But we must seek God in it and insist
that God notice us in our lament.

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Can Suffering be a Gift?

Philippians is a mysteriously joyous book of the Bible. Mysterious, because its author, as he writes, is enshrouded in suffering. Suffering AND joy! The two go together, you see?
Perhaps not. It’s hard for people of our culture to see it. Hard for people of any culture. And it’s impossible for us to see how suffering coalesces with joy, unless through Christ, we’re brought to a place of loss, and from such a place to continually ask why?
Do you see? It is our engagement with God when most of life would have us ignore him that takes us through to his cherished presence to a place where with Christ is gain and all the world is loss.
These are such difficult concepts to write about, because nested within these truths are the inscrutable mysteries of God.
When Paul opens his letter to the Philippians, he greets them and then explains his own perilous and pleasing situation. For Paul, “living is Christ and dying is gain.” He is in a completely paradoxical position. Whatever happens to him is okay. If he lives it is for Christ, all of it. If he dies, it’s all gain, for he passes into the actual Presence of Christ.
Now at the risk of losing you, this is the position that we are blessed to find ourselves in, when, through Christ in our loss, we connect to a joy that surpasses despair because of suffering.
I am not glorifying suffering here.
I hope and pray I’m able to communication that.
If not for the suffering, there would be no extravagance of joy for what only Christ may do in us.
Paul does not come from a place of having lost nothing. He has lost much for the Gospel.
In chapter three of Philippians, Paul convinces us that he knows the privileges of high Judaism. He knows all the delicacies of this life. He has intelligence; the best of education. He has wanted for nothing. Yet, he considers them all “rubbish” compared with one thing: Jesus Christ.
Only having lost all of what
mattered most to us can we see this.
Before we experience such loss, we think such a thought is abhorrent. Truly we do. We cannot understand what to us is purely illogical. Not until we’re backwashed into a grief we cannot escape from, however, do we run into the arms of a waiting God — the only one who can help us in such unparalleled distress.
When we arrive in that place of being, a place that we had no prior concept of, a place where being alive feels like death, we do what finally we were created to do.
We look up, and in cries of despair,
helpless and forlorn, we implore God,
“Help me, Lord!”
And the paradox then comes into play.
~
In such a ‘gift’ of grief we stay,
for an extended time,
so we can learn how to fully rely on God.
As we endeavour to make sense of the nonsensical journey of a suffering beyond anything we ever thought we’d experience, we also make a discovery that was saved for such a place, bereft of spirit and vanquished of soul.
This discovery is a gift. It is a gift because it has been given to us. Not the suffering so much, but the inordinate Presence of God as we, so poor of spirit, no longer have the resources to live life without him. It sounds pathetic to a worldly person. But out of such weakness comes the knowledge of God that is the gift that transcends all gifts.
I’m not sure if I would say that suffering is a gift, but I can say that suffering is the only way through to a gift that God has for us.
What I can say is that suffering is the gateway to something that proves to be a gift: as we come to know God amid tormenting grief, we come to realise we can live without everything else but him.
That’s the gift.

Photo by Rob Bates on Unsplash

Sunday, March 31, 2019

It’s the subtleties of conflict that tear us apart

One thing we don’t grasp about conflict, until this kind occurs, is just how damaging the subtle stuff is.
To frame the discussion, imbibe the following quote:
“One doesn’t have to operate with great malice to do great harm. The absence of empathy and understanding are sufficient.”
— Charles M. Blow
Great malice is done against people. It does great harm, no question about it. But far more common a situation it is that great harm is done through ambivalence and indifference. Indeed, some have postulated that the enemy of love is not fear or hate, but indifference.
Especially in the world of Christianity, where followers are assumed as saved — as allegiants of the Lord Jesus, adherents of the gospel of peace, aligned with loving neighbour as self, acquitted and regenerate of heart — we expect that there will be due diligence given in the matters of relationship.
On the one hand, we agree that we’re all sinners, fallen in nature, bound to disappoint, hurt and betray; on the other hand, being convicted of this, and committed to being subject to Jesus, we may live not for ourselves, but for him, which is to live for others, provided that living for others doesn’t mean we lose ourselves in the process because we’ve fallen foul of a toxic system within a relationship.
ENTERING A PARADOX
Christians sin. Everyone does. But Christians at least understand that they need a doctor. To not understand this is to not truly be Christian, i.e. a Christ follower.
Well, that is the theory. Knowing that the problem of sin resides deep in the fissures of the heart — the emotions, the intellect, the will — and accepting at salvation that Jesus must now be ‘Lord’ — we hopefully realise that this faith in Jesus is a heavily relational faith!
Relationally speaking, we are called to peace,
and we are called out from confusion,
for God is a God of peace and not confusion.
Yet, there are varying degrees of even us knowing our sin. We all have blind spots in some cases.
Knowing our hearts is something that comes only when we give up what we cannot keep to gain what we cannot lose. In terms of Luke 14:25-33, to follow Jesus is to count everything but Christ loss, to commit to an exclusive loyalty to the Lord alone, and to commit to a superior love — that which is received, a perfect love, is also given. Everything else that is good is given unto us for putting Christ first (read Matthew 6:33).
These are what we strive for.
… AND NOW TO THE SUBTLETIES THAT CHAR US
As our hearts become more and more transformed into the likeness of Christ, our sensitivities for others become more sensitive, where we recognise the absence of empathy and understanding are as heinous as other more vocal sins.
Indeed, we may even bear upon ourselves the harsher damage done because people turned away, deliberately it often seems, from the very opportunities they were presented with to love us. This compels us even more to love others with the kind of compassion we did not receive from those we thought were well equipped to love well.
We see how damaging indifference and ambivalence — a lack of interest, care or passion that ordinarily should be evident — are. For those who say they’re acquainted with Christ, we’re gobsmacked they don’t know their gospel; that they may cherry-pick verses in or out to suit them.
It’s the chosen subtleties of selective, arbitrary, factional love that hurt the most.
It’s that someone might choose not to care or to refuse to attempt to understand that hurts the most.
It hurts most when a person we thought would care much couldn’t care less.

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

Friday, March 29, 2019

Suffering and the Eternal Recompense of Compassion

It can be a tired and worn cliché, that God wastes none of our pain. We wheel it out at our earliest inconvenience, when we are stricken with the awkwardness of being presented with a case of someone else’s suffering, hardly realising the damage we may cause.
There is, however, the weight of eternity in genuine loss
that calls us to cry out to heaven above.
How on earth are we supposed to genuinely implore God without having precious things ripped from our covetous grasp? This is not the reason we experience loss, but it is God’s open-door invitation to venture eternally amid such loss.
Could I proffer an opinion based on the theology of experience?
Could it well be that we have no idea about the significance of life and eternity until we have suffered?
Could it be that the urgent hope of life is that our lives would be swept away?
Only when we completely lose our lives do we have the opportunity of gaining eternity. This I liken to a revenant experience. And without wanting to sound superior, there is something that only those who have suffered can gain.
It opens our eyes to what is just beyond our comfortably convenient and oftentimes luxurious world. I say just beyond, because it is literally over the cusp of the moment. It is in the offing for anyone who lives and breathes. Those who don’t know this, oh what a shocking, life-ending reality.
I can tell you I had no idea until I was 36 years, one month, and 19 days old. With one life gone, a new life emerged. And life truly hasn’t been the same ever since. For the losses I bore, there were gains that could not have been realised otherwise. From a shallow and immature perspective, having been brought to my knees for the first time in my life, I suddenly realised my life was not my own. That is true for every single one of us, yet we hardly realise this. Think about how tenuous the living breath is!
You and I live by the graciousness of God alone,
whether we recognise this or not.
God gives and God takes away.
Such is life.
I discovered as I was taken over the precipice and into the abyss of loss that I was truly nothing without it. All of me that had substance was being wrought out of the twisted metal of my disaster. How incredible it was to realise that nothing I had within me amounted to anything without God. With everything stripped away, I could finally see a clear and level site from which to build the foundations of a life made for God’s inhabitation.
These last few paragraphs have possibly nauseated some sense of reason from within you. I want to use the rest of the article to connect suffering with compassion.
~
What has always mystified me
is that suffering is linked to compassion.
Both words — suffering and compassion — derive from the same root (pass-/pati-), in Latin and English and Greek, and possibly other languages. There is a definite linkage between the two.
The person who has no compassion has not suffered, which is not to say they haven’t experienced pain. To truly suffer is to submit to it, without denying it or reviling it, but to have truly been crushed by it. There are many in life who may go one way or the other in avoiding it, into some form of resistance away from where growth in compassion beckons.
But the person who is lambasted by the loss, floored by what has them floundering, the person who is weak beyond resistance, stands to find the God of compassion amid their turmoil and despair. Of course, they usually need to tap into the compassion of another, but not always.
What they lose is incalculable, and so what they gain, as a measure of God’s generous and compensatory grace, is an eternal weight of glory that is poured into their life, in the quality of compassion that transcends this life and connects with the Ages.
This compassion comes to bear
in a presence they carry about
within them, that they exude.
We encounter in them a true and rich and real person. They are no threat to anyone, and they cannot be threatened, but the fearful are threatened by such a person, because they have an intangible eternal magnanimity about them that is from a worldly sense impossible to reconcile.
Look at the person with compassion and make a study of them. Where have they suffered? How has suffering deepened their perspective of life? Why has suffering unearthed such compassion?
Having suffered,
you know what suffering involves,
how much it has cost you,
yet, how much you have gained,
and, in sum, how it then connects you
with compassion, which connects you with others.
Compassion is the gift given to those who have suffered.
And compassion is the embodiment of Jesus.

Photo by J W on Unsplash

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

There is coming a time

On a day when another puzzle piece fitted so neatly into place, I heard again the echo of the God of eternity remind me of the goodness of grace and justice.
There is coming a time when ashes will be turned to beauty as that fine dust takes the form of life once again, or perhaps, indeed for the very first time.
A time is coming when every loss we suffered or continue to bear deeply and heavily, especially in those caverns we’re triggered into, will not only be recovered but redeemed; a perfect consummation of the pain and compensation for the losses incurred.
A time is coming, and is even appearing when God will gather the advocates, surround us with people who know and connect with our struggle, and speak cogently into it by their listening, even as we listen and encourage one another.
A time is coming when depression and anxiety and trauma draw us closer to healing and health and wholeness. Not by denying the struggle, but by validating it as real, and by giving space for it, even as it subsumes us, making us fathoms more compassionate and empathic.
A time is coming when what we have experienced will be believed, where our experience will count as real in the court of our peers. A new peer group is emerging and is arriving, and will breathe life into us as we look unto a group that we cannot believe we’re part of; what a blessing to be part of such a group of comparative luminaries.
A time is coming where our dreams for our children and our young may bear fruit on the promise. If not now, certainly in eternity as God brings justice to bear where children have suffered under some terribly unkind tyranny.
A time is coming when rest will be imminent. Where one’s last sigh will be a breath of peace that will last forevermore. And that reality is something we will steer near by even as travail this wearisome life.
A time is coming where joy will fill the air, where sadness will be seen and met and embraced, and yet joy will be with the sadness and it shall overcome.
A time is coming when the true freedom you’ve always hoped for will become the reality you’ve sought. You know it and you see it and you can even touch and taste it. It’s time to go after it.
A time is coming and will surely come to pass where goodness and mercy and comfort will be ours.
The time has come to colour in
the untold corners of your own story.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

When the going gets tough…

… the tough get going, right? Yes and no.
There is a beautiful idealism sketched in the truth that when things truly get tough, the properly tough person gets going… on the work ahead; they make the forays required in forging the path to success.
But it was shown to me recently that there’s another way to see this truth — a truly sad reality for so many.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going… right away from the problem. In other words, they depart. They leave. They up stumps and never return. Or, they simply take their leave, or cover their ears, or pick up a drink or drug or other distraction, or just check out — “this is not what I signed up for!”
This can happen in conflict, it can happen when life is overwhelming, it can happen anytime a person decides they cannot (or will not) do something. And many of these feelings are to be understood. Everyone gets overwhelmed. Nobody lives this life without being pushed beyond their limit.
But, in being pushed beyond despair, we learn a lot about ourselves and others.
~
When the going gets tough, the tough may wilt and have doubts. They may look at what’s in front of them and shrink in genuine fear, but it’s hoped that they would try to manage what is overwhelming and seemingly impossible.
Climbing the mountain that is the process of grief looks too arduous; if we look at the mountain and don’t see it as a long series of manageable steps, even if some of them are excruciating. Dealing with tragedy, too, looks impossible, until we stay our desire to run, and simply do the best we can, one hour at a time. The long grind of life does wear us down, but it’s from the pit we rise.
The genuinely tough person, the one who is resilient, will normally buckle under the weight of additional stress, until they acclimatise. Until they assess the weight, simply staying and resisting the temptation to run. There’s nothing fancy about the way they do it. Indeed, it’s probably the case that they will look dishevelled because of the added burden.
But they persist. They persist because they see it is their only real option, because they consider the easy out as the fool’s way — no real option at all. They would rather try and fail than walk away without trying — because there’s integrity in that, and when you’ve got nothing else, integrity is an awesome companion.
Chances are you may be reading this, and either be facing a tough situation and considering a boycott. Or, you might be on the receiving end; your partner up and left, or they bailed at a moment you most needed them, or you’ve hit rock bottom and your friends have disappeared (yet some of the unlikely ones have stayed to pick up the pieces with you).
If you’re considering giving up, and leaving the extra burden with someone else, have another think. This decision could be a major loss for you. Your opportunity to hold your head high, having helped when you could’ve back out, is real. Just for an attitude to try, to take your responsibility, to make good on the trust others have placed in you.
~
When the going gets tough and you do get going, you will lose, even as others you care about lose.
But when the going gets tough and you prove you’re tough by getting on with the work, you and everyone else you care about prospers.
If you try and fail, you have failed well, and even in failure there is hope for what might still be achieved.
The massive disclaimer here is in cases of abuse. In cases of abuse, leaving is many times the only option. The persistence here, the tough thing here, is to get going!
And, of course, this article is pointed first and foremost to men who leave women too easily or bail in many different ways on their responsibilities. It certainly happens to men, too, but it’s usually the other way around.

Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash