Shattered Family Dreams and Wishing For Death

 This is a very interesting article written by Anthony Bradley, he currently works as a professor.

December 17, 2007
Praying For Death Because of Shattered Family Dreams

 by Anthony Bradley

The past few weeks I’ve have had a surprising number of conversations with men (in their 20s and 30s) who have confessed that they have seriously asked for, and even prayed for, death. And it’s all been for one reason: The "family dream" that they were sold as kids has not happened. On the surface things look great, but peel back one layer and you find excruciating pain. "Hey, bor how’s it going?" "Fine," the liar says. "Just fine."

Families like the Keatons and the Cosbys (like the Cleavers and Nelsons of a previous generation) were presented as the pinnacle and fullest expression of life on earth.This is what you want fellas, a beautiful wife, a few kids, a nice house, a good job. . .then comes retirement, grandchildren and you die a fulfilled man. Ahh, what a life!

Guess what? Lots of guys are finding out the hard way that in the real world having the perfect "American family" image is the rare exception. Here’s the truth: lots of guys I know are in completely miserable marriages, many (I mean MANY) wives have committed adultery, kids have chronic illnesses, guys hate their jobs are stuck because of debt, divorced (even though they swore they were not going to do what their parents did by splitting up), many wives want to leave their husbands because they don’t make enough money, lots of "great guys" never marry, many can’t get over addictions because after praying for 12-15 years they’ve discovered that it "doesn’t work," depression, dealing with their own sexual abuse at a late age, mulling over a very long list of regrets, wanting to pack it all up and go "into the wild," your daughter has a reputation for being a "slut," your son’s already a pot head, etc. And for guys that I talk to who aren’t Christians or part of any religious tradition some of the issues are worse than these.

Or even worse, you could be one of those guys whose wife just cuts him down and emasculates regularly (daily).

I don’t always know how to respond to hearing "bro, I want to die," knowing that the guy is serious. Very serious. How were men taught to handle the dreams and expectations that never come true. How much of it is evny, the "grass is greener syndrome, or mystery?

A few of us are growing in our ability to stomach being in the presence of those men who acquired the ideal existence as advertised–the annointed ones. It’s not their fault they had it easy and continue to have it easy (or at least they put off like they do). This one guy recently talked about how easy it is for the annointed to believe that God loves them but it’s very hard for those who circumstances are constantly hard and painful, "the cursed," walk in "grace." What’s ever worse is that the guys that do all the teaching in churches are the ones who appear to have the "ideal" as advertised and that its working out perfectly. So the "perfect" life guys are completely ignored by the rest. "Of course you can preach about God’s love, look how easy your life is."

Another guy said once, "yeah it’s really easy for me to see how God loves other guys, just look at his wife and kids, their nearly perfect." What do you say to that? But easy riders will say, "No, I can relate, my wife and I get into fights all the time." And they guy who just caught his wife cheating (again) just rolls his eyes and says, "yeah, wow, whew that’s hard stuff for ya."

So what the great American lie has produced is a profound cynicism. A cynicism that tempts men what to end their life. Being a kid is so awesome because you’re often oblivious to destruction that is guaranteed to visit most of us and will completely avoid others–a profound mystery.

I know one guy who says that he’s trying to get over his refusal to even have a conversation with one of the annointed. He hasn’t had much respect for them as men. I know this one guy who asked, "if you can’t have kids, what’s the point of being alive?" Ahhhh, to spend the rest of life quarantined in the "40-plus" singles group at your church for local service projects, camping trips, and Bible studies."

What are we suppose to say to this? I guess the Christian cliches will do. Fellas, I wish I had more answers. 

  1. This is an interesting take. Normally you hear about successful, but single women who are still seeking mates. Instead, here you explore that the “perfect” life is either unattainable or not all that it’s cracked up to be. We are never pleased with the life we’re living. Even the rich can find something wrong or something to hate about themselves.

  2. Chance

    @ Naysue,

    You are so correct, we often think that the grass is greener on the other side until we hear about the realities of those who are already on the other side. Life is filled with vicissitudes (ups and downs) and situations and we have to deal with those situations and their ups and downs.

    Shakespeare said: Life is a stage and everyone must play his part.

    Good to hear from you again Naysue!!!

  3. Mike

    If a person lives for this world, life will certainly dissapoint. If a person lives life as an opportunity to earn G-d’s reward in the afterlife, then even this life, with all of its dissapointments, can be worth it and many times sweet. If a person thinks they die and that’s it, then life is often not worth it.

    Life is an oppotunity to earn G-d’s reward in eternity. Handle lifes problems as tests to overcome and challanges to meet. The harder the effort, the more reward G-d gives (in the next world). This is not a cliche. This is an understanding of life’s purpose. Without it, this world is a veil of tears. With it, a man fights for goodness and therebye becomes a great person.

  4. Chance

    Well spoken Mike!!!

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