Wednesday, December 23, 2015

LOVE — The Opposite of Being Shut Out

By Bob Mueller

Many people tell me they are a “shut-in.” They may be old, crippled, or sick. Many cannot get out much and have to stay in the house most of the time. I have also visited several jails and penitentiaries. It makes me sad to see men and women shut behind prison bars.

Above most anything else, we Americans want freedom. We do not want to be shut-ins. Young people crave the chance to live their own lives. Husbands or wives do not want to be dominated by the other. We do not want our nation to be governed by a dictator. We want to be free.

But I want to tell you something worse than being a shut-in: being a “shut-out.”

Some young person may feel restricted by the rules of the parents in the home — but it would be far worse to be an orphan and to have no parents, or to be driven out of the home and not allowed to return.

A husband may feel that his wife is unreasonable and hard to live with – but go back and read Tennyson’s story of Enoch Arden. He was considered dead, and his wife married again. He returned home and looked through the window to see his wife with her new husband. For the balance of his days, he was a shut-out.

A man may complain about his government and high taxes, but then we remember the man without a country who was not allowed to be a citizen anywhere.

Love is the opposite of being shut out. Love means acceptance. Love means belonging. Love becomes the most important thing in life.

Today we hear a lot about the needs of children and young people. They need a lot of things, such as being listened to, hearing their side, learning what they are thinking about. They need discipline, but discipline is not enough. One of my best friends wrote these words: “I can remember when Mother used to get after us boys. She would take me in the bedroom and talk to me. She would leave me sitting on the edge of the bed, but as she would go out of the room, she would turn around and say, ‘But, son, remember I love you.’ That meant more to me than any other thing in my life.”

A lot of times, children feel shut out. Their parents have not made them feel they were loved. The greatest tragedy is for a child or a youth to feel unwanted, unneeded, and unloved.

I talked to a mother just recently whose teenage daughter is unmarried and going to have a baby. The mother said a lot of harsh and bitter things to her. She talked about their family being disgraced. I finally said to the mother, “You stop saying all those bitter things. That girl is hurt enough. You go home and tell that girl, and keep telling her many times every day, that you love her, that you are standing by her, and that you are going to help her all the way through.” I told that mother, “If you do not love your daughter now, she will likely never need your love again.”

There are some other foundations a home needs, but if we have love, real love, the other foundations will take care of themselves. Without love, no other foundations are strong enough.

Bob Mueller is the vice President of Development at Hosparus

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