The Cheese Shop

No. 74 - 11th March 2018

I was rather saddened to discover that the cheese shop at the top of the High Street was closing down. I used to go up there every couple weeks to get a special creamy Roquefort for my wife. It was a great little shop and I could see they had put a lot of work into making it as interesting and attractive as possible. But they just couldn’t get enough customers to keep it going. I had a chat with the couple on Monday when they were packing up the last of their possessions and preparing to move out. It was really sad. They’re not the first family business to close down in the town and I’m sure they won’t be the last. But, can you imagine the sort of stress that people must go through in a situation like that. All the effort and investment that has gone into it. The months of anguish as they struggle on and then having to just walk away from it all.

Maybe I feel more for them because I know what it’s like to struggle with a business. I’ve been there. I’ve felt the pain. I’ve had the nightmares and it’s a horrible experience. My digestive system is still affected by all that stress. But as someone once said, “It’s not the stress that kills us. It’s our reaction to it”. I was a Christian at the time, and though I knew the theory, I found it difficult to relax in the certain knowledge that God was there in the real world and cared about me. When I got into a really stressful situation, I just got completely overwhelmed by it.

My father was a bit of a disciplinarian, and as a child I was quite frightened of getting things wrong. I’m an adult now, but I’ve still found it difficult not to view my Heavenly Father through the same eyes. I found it hard to believe that He would be there for me when I needed him. That he would step back down into his world and help me out. That He would put my faults and my mistakes behind him and just treat me like a precious son. As Rick Warren says, “God, your Heavenly Father, loves you more than you will ever know. You can turn to him when you need acceptance, when you need approval, and when you need attention”. I’m discovering that more and more and find that I can relax in the most stressful of situations because He knows what I need and He cares about the outcome. Stressful situations no longer feel quite so stressful.

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