I just put my youngest on a plane back to Boise at the end of her Spring break. A few weeks ago I find out from my oldest that I’m going to be a grandpa this Fall. A few nights ago we celebrated my honeys birthday with a bowling party. If all of these things don’t send me the message that I’m not as young as I’d like to think I am, then maybe the arthritis in my elbow will help reinforce the point. The encouraging thing is that I get to live to fight another day.
I’m not sure if it was the realization that I would now have another family members birthday to remember when memory is getting thin, or the pain in my elbow, but I have just recently begun to have a crisis called “what difference do I make?” If you haven’t experienced it yet, you someday will. You might be in the middle of it yourself. It’s not necessarily an age thing. Actually, it is how I wandered into the pastoral arts profession 20 years ago. It just seems to come when the dust settles and a moment of clarity arrives and the image of your life comes into focus. At that moment you get to really see what your life consists of. Sometimes, there is satisfaction and an appreciation of where you are. Sometimes you might not like the reflection at all, and sometimes it is somewhere in between. It is those in between times when you begin to wonder if you are missing something.
Now I’m not that old, but I am old enough to understand that this is, regardless of what you think your faith might be, a spiritual experience. It is, in my opinion anyway, critical to understand this point. Many lives have been ruined because we don’t understand the spiritual nature of this. Instead, it is seen as circumstantial and therefore we must change the circumstances. People try to change their marital circumstance, their family circumstance, their employment circumstance, their residential circumstance, or whatever quick pick solution seems to present itself. That is the tactic of the great deceiver who whispers that you are not right in comparison to everyone else. The truth lies only in your comparison to what you yourself were created to be, and only your creator can communicate that to you. It is a spiritual unrest and no matter how many spouses or houses or leases you exchange, you will never find rest.
As I said, I’m at the point where the whisper is back, the dust is settling and something is off just a bit. I think that this is more frustrating than being totally off center. Those adjustments are clear….difficult, but still clear. It’s the little nagging, Charlie Brown teacher, voice that I can barely make out, mumbling “You’re almost there” except I don’t really know where “there” is. I know from experience though that I won’t know until I actually get “there”. I’ll let you know when it happens. Until then, it’s still missing.