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the soap opera connection
by collette mcfarland 
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Sunday, June 29, 2008The Soap Opera Connection
I was comfortably ensconced on my throne, with my feet on an earth toned footstool, watching As the World Turns wondering who writes that trash when my phone went off. It was one of my sons, Greg, calling and he sounded anxious, hurt. He had information for me concerning his wife (information I was already privy too) who had left him ( at my advice) because heíd been drinking too heavily and she couldn't take it anymore. Well, I was thankful he gave up the bottle when she walked out and they were trying to make things work. It sometimes takes a separation like this to act as a wakeup call. But now her job planned on moving her further away, miles away. Counties away. Not-available-for -commute away. He swore it meant the end of their marriage; he wouldnít have a marriage in separate cities. I felt for him , obstinacy is so human! This had not been my plan for their life when they married, so young and full of love, but they had been too Young and Restless at the time and needed some spiritual ripening. I encouraged my son to keep talking to me, to listen to me but he was so down I couldn't hold his attention and the connection went dead. I kept the line open for him to call back as I knew he would, eventually. I hoped this set back didnít discourage him from our Sunday get together he had just started participating in, with what I could see were sincere intentions.

Immediately after he called I got a call from one of my daughters, Carol. Her husband had just ....oh, how awful...., shot himself. She was hysterical and needed her dad. Thank heavens I was home for this call also. We spent lots of time together, crying and consoling each other. She really needed a shoulder to lean on and mine was strong. I did lots of building when I was younger and could hold up mountains if the situation called for it. I reassured her continuously that she would see her husband again, would have the chance to hold and love him for eternity; that was how things would be I was certain, no doubts raised, as he was at this moment standing contritely in front of me, stripped of all his rewards. Yet I could feel her hurt. Knowing that this life isn't all there is isn't automatically comforting in the darkest hours but as long as she knew I was available twenty four /seven to be her Guiding Light she would survive. I would answer anytime she called, day or night. I reminded her, unnecessarily, that Sundayís get together was still crucial, she promised to be there. .

Again the phone went off. Another son, Frank, was down in the dumps. He was feeling so low and hopeless about things, rising gas, food and utility bills, and possible layoffs, he confided he felt like dying. Not just dying, he felt like determining his death date, hint, hint. We had a serious talk about suicide and itís aftermath. I told him he had Only one Life to Live and since I was the one who brought him into the world, only I could take him out. That brought a gentle laugh from him. He knew I was right. I was capable of taking him out and that rattled him more than all his worldly problems. After some time together on the air waves he began to feel optimistic. Expectant. Things would look better in the morning, I promised. This wasn't the first generation to see a recession. I had seen many recessions in my life and lived through them all, and he did after all have my spirit. He also had my experience written in a journal on his bedside table. We left off on a positive note and I reiterated to him how important Sunday would be for us to get together. He needed family for encouragement. He gave his word heíd be there. Good enough for me.

After my hectic week of family turmoil, my favorite day arrived; Sunday. I take one day off a week from running my global enterprise to rest and recuperate. Itís good for the spirit. Plus, as an added feature I encourage All My Children to come over to the house for dinner and family time. I may not get around like my kids think I should, every child thinks they can run things better than their parents, mine are no exception, but I never miss a day of family singing and worship. I donít coerce my kids to come, I only want the ones over that sincerely want to be with me nor do I pass judgment on the ones that arenít here,(even though that is truly my prerogative!) if I still hear from them regularly. Having such an influential parent like me isnít easy on my brood. They feel like they have to put on airs. Wrong. I love them regardless. They are free to be Bold and Beautiful in my presence.

Greg arrived first and sat in the back. Next came Carol and Frank, stopping at the brochure table to browse. There were pamphlets there on topics such as healing from grief and suicide prevention. They both picked up the booklets that interested them, and then looked at each other, guardedly. A conversation then ensued by the two strangers (yet brother and sister in my eyes) sharing their angstís. They exchanged phone numbers to keep afloat, (under normal circumstances I donít recommend my daughters just handing out their numbers, this world is less than ideal, but I made an exception this morning). They had devised a spur of the moment plan to start a support group here at the church that unknown to them now, would grow into an enormous success. (They didnít know it really wasnít a spur of the moment thing. I had set that plan in motion during the week by planting a little seeds on futile ground).

The morning activities of song and praise got started and Greg bowed his head, whispering to me on our two way radio, a radio so clear I could hear him without distractions, at the same time I could hear All my Children. My technologies exceed any known today by man. Iím the super parent that has eyes and ears behind my head, on top of my head and under my feet, in other words Iím the childís ultimate nightmare because I see all and hear all! As Greg and I conversed about his determination to stay temperate despite what to him seemed a tremendous set back, another back seat Christian took the space beside him. (Hey, the seats are there for a reason, as long as they are being occupied I have no complaints!) Greg didnít want to be distracted from our tÍte-ŗ-tÍte so the hand that slipped into his totally startled him. Looking up he went eye to eye with Martha, his absent wife (he pinched himself to be sure he wasnít hallucinating). Unfortunately for me, being who I am, I never get the thrill that comes from being surprised, being a genuine Know It All has major disadvantages.

Martha had decided to stay in town. Working on their marriage at this time was more important than any job opportunities, though they would still have detached living situations for a while they would both find healing here at my General Hospital, insurance paid for by my firstborn, Yeshua. Greg and Martha (even Carol and Frank) had one common ground; they agreed that all the Days of our Lives are best spent in the House Of God, (my house) with the family of God.

Duet 32:39
Psalm 30:5
Psalm 84:10
Psalm 103:3
Ecc. 3:4
Eph 5:18
Heb. 4:16
Heb 10:23-34

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