Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Stirring the embers

I'm not exactly sure what a "mid life crisis" looks like for a woman, but I am wondering if that is what I've been going through the past couple years.  I think it started with Nick and Vinny graduating, and Nicolas subsequently moving out.  I don't think I was ready for that emotionally.  And here we are two years later and Hope and Kyle will be graduating two exact years from now.  Already.  It's right around the corner and so is, potentially, an empty nest.


I don't feel old enough for that.  And I'm not sure what our life will look like then.  Or feel like.  So much of my identity for the past 22 years has been as a wife and a mom.  It's what I looked forward to as a little girl, and where I have focused my attention ever since my first walk down the aisle at 25.   I know I will still be a wife and a mom, and a grammie too :). But it's not the same when they leave the house.  They don't need me as much and while I know that is the goal...to teach our kids to be independent and launch out into the world on their own...it hurts a bit.  A lotta bit.  There is an emptiness that makes me pause and say...now what?

I wonder if this is what my mom went through after I left home.  There was a distinct change in her that I can see now.  Looking back, I think she was extremely lonely.  She wasn't dating anymore, her mother had died, she had a love/hate relationship with her sister Arlene, and all of us kids were out on our own living our own lives.  I realize that is when she started shopping and buying and crowding her small apartment with so many "things".  There was always "one more thing" she needed and then she would be "done".  But she was never done, she kept accumulating things and filling up her apartment.  She began leaving her safe little cluttered home less and less and her world got smaller and smaller.  I can see it now, but I didn't understand it then.

There are some ways I know I am like my mother, but this is not one of them.  I am in "purge" mode. I want to declutter and simplify.  I also don't want to let my world get small.  There are things that I used to love to do that I have let fade out of my life....playing my piano, taking pictures, going for walks and enjoying nature, being involved in women's ministry, and being on the worship team.  And connecting with friends. Part of it has been a time issue.  The kids are much more involved in things now than ever - their social lives have exploded to include boyfriends and girlfriends, jobs, and a plethora of school/sports/theater/church activities that all demand rides to and fro on almost a daily basis.  Often multiple times a day.  I'm not complaining (sometimes maybe a little) but I am happy to do the rides for a little while longer because I know once they get their licenses and own cars they will be gone more than they are home.  I will miss our car time, where we have some of our best talks and laughs.

I think I have figured out what has been going on.  About 5 years ago things began to change...slowly at first but after a couple years it really picked up speed and knocked me off my feet.  I haven't fully recovered.  But I am beginning to see - by the grace of God, no doubt, because I have been praying for God to open my eyes to why I have lost sight of so many of these things that I have been passionate about.  It was a slow fade.  A slow chipping away at these thing. Believing the daily little lies from the enemy of our souls that I don't have the time, don't have the energy, don't have the talent, don't have the faith to pour myself into any of my passions anymore.  Satan is very patient.  This didn't happen overnight.  Like I said, it was a slow fade.  That is how he works.  If he can't take something away immediately, as can happen with a sudden tragedy when he tells us that God has failed us and we throw down our faith and walk away...he will be patient and slowly chip away at it until there is very little left for us to hold onto.  Or we simply forget about it.

And then we wake up a few years later and realize it and wonder what happened to our passion?  My passion.  I have asked God to renew and restore it.  And that is what he is doing.  I see it now.  And I will not beat myself up over it.  I will just do what I have always done...come back to God, give it to Him, and ask Him to direct my path everyday.  Ask him to restore what I have lost and make beauty from ashes.  I can feel Him stirring the embers.