So I see that it has been 2 years since my last post. I’m not really surprised by this……my life has changed significantly over the last 3 years owing to a career change which limits my free time considerably. However this evening I seem to have a spare moment to share a thought or two.
I’m in a period of my life where everything seems to be changing at a significant speed. My four children are mostly adult now with the last one having left secondary school yesterday. He will start college in the fall, another begins uni far far away. Another returns to do his final year and the eldest has completed a degree and is looking at ‘ the rest of her life’ which could take her anywhere in the world.
This is what we plan for and pray for isn’t it? To see our children grow to adulthood- to fly the nest and make their own unique and wonderful contribution to the world- to take all the lessons we have taught them and all the love we have lavished upon them to make their way in the world…
But, as I sit here, listening to three boys upstairs laughing together as they enjoy their summer hols, my daughter off seeing the world and having all those opportunities I wanted for her- as I sit here with my significant other as he sits with headphones in his ears, watching a movie, from which I am excluded, I cannot even begin to describe to you everything that I’m feeling because to do so would unlock emotions of such enormity I could not cope with the magnitude of their intensity.
The job I do is highly stressful and very pressured. It’s the sort of job one describes as a vocation or a calling. Sadly it’s a job where the goal posts move on a weekly basis- where your best is never quite good enough and where you feel you must get everything right so that others are not failed.
During a rare week off, I was encouraged by a friend to walk every day. My boss has been concerned that I’m becoming overworked so I took the advice, am trying to work less and to walk everyday. I must admit there are times when this walk is a godsend. I love being outside. I love wildlife. I love the countryside and I walk and walk. By the second km, I feel my body start to settle and relax and my burdens begin to lift. I see and hear owls, ducks, geese, cattle, houses I didn’t know were there. I hear the singing of too many birds to count, the species of which I am learning to recognise.
Something else is happening. Something I’m finding harder to deal with.
Before I worked every spare minute. My identity was caught up in it. I think I even took pride in being such a hard worker. The job took up all of my thinking even in sleep- I know – not a healthy place to be especially over a 3-4 year period.
Now though I have a little more time. More time to think, more time to become aware of my struggles, my weaknesses and failings. The overwhelming emotion is loneliness. I walk alone which I prefer because I’m an introvert but lately I feel like I do everything alone. Significant other- no doubt fed up with a wife he never sees or who is always engaged in work- has made his own life, his own hobbies, his own schedule. Other then ‘will you be home for tea?’ I don’t think I feature.
So now I have time to realise how lonely my life really is…..how empty it has become . I feel like I’m looking forward to a lonely future surrounded by others who have no idea that I’m feeling any of these things. I’m becoming fixated on things that are not in my best interests to be contemplating. Things which if I pursue them too closely will wreck my very existence and destroy the family I love so much. It’s more than melancholy. It’s more than just a really crappy day.
Normally a faithful Christian, even that faith seems to be slowly eroding away……
Yet as I write this a new thought is forming in my mind- or maybe the recollection of an old thought.
Ecclesiastes ( in the bible ) says, ‘ there is a season for everything under heaven ‘ it goes on to all about emotions, life events and such and I am comforted by the thought that ‘this too shall pass’ . There will be new joys, new loves, new members of the family to welcome and love and bless. This is just a season – a midlife crisis- if you will.
There’s a verse in the psalms in which the writer says, ‘ why are you downcast oh my soul?’ The advice the psalmist gives to himself lifts my heart as I write this – ‘ put your hope in God for I will yet praise Him’ . I know as I write that this is true.
So, I need to accept that for this period of my life as it changes beyond all recognition, there will be sorrow, there will be loss – the best kind of loss- a loss that every parent must one day face, there will be melancholy moments….
I must not let this be the thing that defines my future – that defines my life.
THIS TOO SHALL PASS!