Yesterday friends filled us in on their week: They filed for bankruptcy. He was laid off from his job. She just got a call from her family telling her that her mom died.
Oh, my. Oh, oh, oh.
Unfortunately, they are not alone. I have two other friends facing foreclosure on their homes, and another one filing for bankruptcy. Several are desperately searching for jobs. More than a few care for aged parents or other infirm family members.
Tough times all around.
Some years ago, my first husband lost his job just as the country was plunging into a recession. Just when heavy rains damaged our house. Just as his serious health difficulties began to emerge. My exasperated husband said we were suffering from the “What Next Syndrome.” Mis-hearing him, a friend said, “Wet Neck Syndrome? What’s that?” We laughed and explained, but the new term took on a life of its own. Forever after, times of trouble-piled-on-trouble have been known as “Wet Neck Syndrome.”
There’s a lot of that malady going on right now. Not just in this country, but around the world.
In April, I had the privilege of speaking at a retreat on the beautiful Oregon Coast. The topic of my sessions was It Is Well With My Soul. Horatio Spafford knew all about the Wet Neck Syndrome. After he lost everything in the great Chicago fire, he sent his family to Europe to recover, but the ship on which they sailed was hit broadside and sank. All three of his little girls drowned. Only his wife survived. Horatio caught the next ship across the Atlantic. As it approached the spot where the ship sank, he stood at the deck and penned the words: It is well, it is well, with my soul.”
That’s the secret, isn’t it? At some point in our lives, most of us are hit by the Wet Neck Syndrome. Much of what goes on around us… much of what happens to us… we simply cannot change. What we can change is our response to it.
How are you today?
You say, times are tough? Money’s short? Circumstances are challenging?
All that is surely true. But how about you? Is it well with your soul?
When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot, You have taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.