Not Oprah's Secret! Grandma's Secret

By April Lorier

Oprah's Secret, my grandmother didn't know; but Grandma knew the secret to keeping her mind straight and her heart full of God's peace. She had five grown children and numerous grandchildren, some of whom she was raising. She worked as a cleaning lady for the President of the local bank, both for the bank and for his home. Even with her demanding husband she served the ladies in her local church. There were problems beyond her control every day, and yet there were always warm baked goods on her table and healthy meals served.

I learned her secret when I was just a child. She was constantly humming or half-singing some old hymn as she was down on her knees scrubbing the already-clean floors. No matter what life threw at her, Grandma got busy doing the next thing. She knew what she was responsible for, and she attacked it like there was no tomorrow. (Do I have to say her house was always spotless, her laundry fresh and clean, and her appearance was impeccable?)

Later I learned patients in mental hospitals are given one small task per day to accomplish: today clean out that small drawer and organize it. Tomorrow it could be a larger drawer, but whenever the “next thing” is accomplished the patient’s confidence is boosted and mental clarity improves immediately.

There are times when life gets too confusing – too painful to allow one to even consider what can or should be done. It is during these critical times that doing the next thing is so critical. It’s just too easy to become mentally, emotionally, and then physically paralyzed by life – especially if one has survived domestic abuse in the past. Nothing ever disappears from our subconscious minds – it creeps out when we sleep, or an image (or sound) immediately transports us back to the painful times. That's why we must consciously move!

I have a friend who has known me forever, and she always says, “Girl, get out of your chair and do something – anything that requires no thought. Always, if I heed her advice, it breaks the paralysis! There’s something about doing “mindless work” (eg: scrubbing down the kitchen) that makes me feel I have some personal power, and I’m OK from that point.

Today don’t let anything paralyze you. If you’re a Christian, give the memory to God, then do your part – get up and do the next thing. It’s Grandma’s Secret for depression!

April Lorier is an Author, Christian Speaker, and Columnist. She has also been a classroom Music Teacher. She is the Founder of C.O.P.E., Inc., a non-profit organization formed for the retraining of abusive and neglectful parents, as well as for the education of the public. Her testimony before the California State Legislature helped to facilitate the passage of The Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) in 1974 which Ronald Reagan signed. As a pastor’s daughter and a survivor of severe child abuse, April Lorier has an intimate knowledge of child abuse in and out of the church. She has spent the last thirty-five years ministering to survivors of abuse from her home base of Southern California. Her autobiography, "God’s Battered Child:
Journey from Abuse to Leader" (2007) is available at AMAZON.

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