Right in the centre - Seeking contentment


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

The world is in turmoil, both at home and far away. From economics to mental health to wars, there are plenty of things to worry about. It’s as if we are in a constant state of grief.

So what does one do? We have to carry on until our days are done. As I wrote a little while ago, it’s important to count our blessings. It’s important to know that no matter how tough life may be or seem to be, there is usually much to be thankful for. Dark times come from illness, death of a loved one or from financial stress, but the sadness becomes less and the sunshine of blessings can be found.

In dark times, I have some touchstones. I will share one with you. In the Netherlands during WWII, the ten Boom family were watchmakers. The dad, the mom and two daughters were all in the watch business. When Germany invaded Netherlands, their town came under the harsh German rule. They were Christians but hid some Jewish people in their home. I believe the hideaways were kept safe, but the family were imprisoned in a work camp. The parents died and after much mistreatment, so did one of the daughters. Her death was hastened by being beaten by one very nasty guard. But one daughter, Corrie ten Boom survived.

In 1947, she later wrote she was speaking in Germany to many different groups of very downtrodden defeated people. After one meeting, where she spoke on God’s forgiveness, a man came to the front to meet her and she recognized him as the guard who had beaten her sister. He said how wonderful it was to be forgiven by God but he didn’t realize who was he speaking to. Corrie ten Boom had great difficulty forgiving the man but she said, “And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. “I forgive you, brother!” I cried. “With all my heart!”

For a long moment, we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then.”

Corrie ten Boom could not forgive except by the grace and power of God flowing through her.

To me, that story is indeed a touchstone, a marker by which we can all stand. If God could give the badly abused Dutch watchmaker the strength to forgive the abuses she saw and experienced, then surely God can give us the strength to forgive others and to carry on with the burdens of life.

There are two other touchstones in my life. One is my father taught me the importance of making people laugh. The other one, is to serve, my mother (aided by dad sometimes) taught me to serve. Find a way in the world to serve.

And lastly, there are millions of problems in the world thrown into our minds by media all the time. We now know instantly when tragedy or violence strikes. We can’t solve all the problems. We can solve some but not them all.

Forgive, laugh, serve others and God. Therein lies the key, not necessarily to happiness but to contentment.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.