I went to church again yesterday. I’ve been going every Sunday since I first visited a couple of months ago. I like this place. The message always gives me something to really think about. So often when I hear one of the pastors speaking, I feel as if he’s reached inside my head and my heart and is addressing something that’s really important to me. I always get the sense too, that it’s not just me struggling with the things I struggle with. I love that. It makes me feel that we’re all so much more alike than I ever realized.
Yesterday’s message was about the seasons of life, and figuring out what our purpose is in whatever season we’re in at the moment. The underlying tone of the message was to embrace our circumstances each day. If we constantly look ahead to what’s next, we’ll miss out on the great things that are waiting right here for us to discover.
I contemplated what season I might be in, and came to the conclusion that it’s transitional. At least my head and heart are in a transitional place, even if my life circumstances appear to be pretty well-defined. I’m no longer a full-time parent. My kids are too big to be kids, but not all completely out of the house yet. I still dote on them when they let me, but the reality is, they’re learning to survive on their own in the adult world. That’s a good thing. There was a day when I wondered when any scrap of my time might be just mine again. My kids might truly need me on occasion these days, but mostly, I’m on my own. Sometimes that feels great. Sometimes it feels very empty.
I heard a tantrum happening outside this afternoon. With the air conditioner on and the doors and windows all closed, I could clearly hear Logan having a hissy fit in the front yard next to ours. Sneaking a peek out the window, I saw him hop onto his four-wheeler and ride circles around the trees in our front yard, all the while pointing in the direction of his house and screaming, “No, Mommy! Go way! Go way!”
Okay, I’m glad we’re past that season. It’s a relief to be able to quietly laugh at a scene like that and know I’m not the one who has to deal with it. Logan can be fun to hang out with, but when his emotions hit an extreme, I’m glad I can just send him back home to his parents.
So what exactly is my purpose now? One of the things we were told to think about is whether we’ve been in a particular season for long enough. Whether that season is drinking too much, or holding back forgiveness from someone who has done us wrong or whatever. If there’s anything we’ve been doing for long enough, and it’s not providing any value, then maybe it’s time to move out of that season and figure out what comes next.
For a long time, I thought that I came into my job when I did because my gradually emptying nest meant that I could throw myself into my work enough to become noticeably dedicated and give myself opportunities to advance. Both have happened, and I am fulfilled by the work that I do. This job has helped me remember how much I love to learn and explore. It has done wonders for my confidence. I will always be grateful to have landed where I did, and will happily continue doing what I do as long as it is the right thing. But … the older I get, the less I feel that this job is really my purpose. In fact, it seems kind of silly now that I might have ever thought my purpose is what it was.
It hadn’t really occurred to me before I started writing this, but I think a starting point has something to do with accepting the wind-down of this stage of life. I think there will always be some remnants of sadness when I think about the fact that the daily opening of the door eventually won’t bring the sound of one of their voices. But maybe acceptance will bring a clearer picture of whatever that something more could be.