The Man Who Thought He Had Everything
by Angie Lewis 12/06/2006 / Marriage
John Smith was a happily married man, satisfied with his engineer position in a nuclear power plant. John’s beautiful wife Beth was expecting twins in three weeks. John and Beth were excited about extending their family and raising children. Some people would say John had great things going for him, and to most folks, the Smiths had the ideal marriage.
They lived in a beautiful subdivision of two story Spanish style stucco homes. Their neighbors, Nick and Margi Jones often invited them to their church and sometimes to their home bible study on Wednesday evenings. But John and Beth didn’t have time for that sort of thing. John did make it a point, though, to tell his neighbor that he and Beth most definitely believed in God. “Everyone believes in God.” John cheerfully told them.
Beth being an artist was excited about staying home with the twins and working on her painting projects from home. John made a good salary and they both agreed that Beth being home with the twins the first couple of years would be the best thing for them. The Smith’s were very comfortable with their high standard of living and they lacked for nothing.
A week before Beth was to give birth to the twins, John’s boss called him into the office for a meeting. The plant was going to shut down. Everyone, except for just a few men, was getting laid off. John was now unemployed and using up valuable financial reservoirs he had saved for hospital bills, baby expenses, and other emergencies, John began to drink to make himself feel better.
Beth gave birth to twin girls and to celebrate the occasion, a few nights later, John stayed out all night and got drunk. The next morning driving home the police pulled John over for speeding. But John got more than a speeding ticket. Beth had to go get her drunken husband up from the country Jail for DUI. Margi, the neighbor came over to help Beth with the girls, and she pleaded with Beth to come to Wednesday night bible study, Beth finally agreed.
John ran out of money and managed to get a job as a janitor in the local grade school. He was making less than half of what he did at the plant. John felt pathetic about himself, and on most days he went out and got drunk before coming home. But drinking did not make John feel better. When he did come home, he was belligerent and mouthy with Beth. John made Beth get a job working in a retail clothing shop. By the time her salary paid for the twin’s day care, Beth was barely bringing home $60 a week.
The Smith’s standard of living plummeted and so did John’s attitude. John quickly became a cantankerous alcoholic and unsupportive husband and father. Beth was working everyday, doing something she hated, while strangers raised her twin girls. Beth knew that she needed to do something. She tried to get John to go to Alcoholic’s Anonymous, but he said he didn’t have a drinking problem and could stop at any time. She tried to get him to go to bible study with her, but he wouldn’t do that either.
When the girls were almost a year old, Beth was tired of enabling her abusive husband from the depths of his alcoholism, and she finally left him, hoping he would now get some help. The man who thought he had everything, a bright future, a great wife, beautiful twin daughters, made himself into a wretched alcoholic who hated himself and life. John was too proud for his own good, rather than humble himself and ask God for the guidance he needed for his life, John took his own life a week after Beth left him.
This story is fiction but the circumstances and events that I mention happen to people like the Smith’s every single day.
What was missing in John’s life? At one time in his life, did John have everything? What could they have done differently to make their lives a little bit more contented after John got laid off? And what about Beth? Could she have done more or did something differently in trying to get her husband to see his erring ways? If you were in similar circumstances what would you do?
Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Proverbs 26:12 NIV)