I think that I am going through a sort of Christian mid-life crisis.
I call it a Christian mid-life crisis because I don’t want to leave my wife for a younger woman and I haven’t rushed out and bought a new sports car (my T-Bird doesn’t count!). My wife and I enjoy a very warm, fun, friendly relationship. She is my best friend, my trusted confidante, my playmate and my biggest cheerleader.
However, we are heading into a very different time of life very soon. She is fine with it. I’m the one who is wobbling…and I’m supposed to be the strong one!
I have thoroughly enjoyed being a father to my children. It has brought a depth of meaning and value to my life that I have found nowhere else. For years, my wife and my children depended on me, needed me, looked to me. As I grow older, this seems to be fading.
I don’t want to stop it because I think that it is normal and healthy. It means that I have succeeded as a father to some degree. I have helped children grow into healthy, responsible young adults.
This morning, I read something this morning that really touched my heart because it expressed some of what I feel on the inside.
Our children are pieces of ourselves; it is very hard to part with them, and touches a good man in as tender a part as any…to part with them…who had been so many years his cares and hopes… Matthew Henry’s Commentary
I realize that my relationship with them is not ending. In fact, my children are becoming some of my best friends, for which I am very thankful. And I will continue to carry them in my heart and in prayer.
However, soon a huge part of me will be largely unemployed? Fathering is not something I did. It has been a large part of who I am. What is next? Right now, I don’t know.
How many times have I heard or said, “Just grow up!” When we were pressing our children to make the difficult but necessary choices required to “grow up”, I would often encourage them by confessing that I always wanted to write a book entitled “No One Ever Told Me That Growing Up Was So Hard!”
The changing of the seasons in life are very challenging. Too often, we shut down rather than go through the growth pains required to enter the next season. It is unfortunately quite common to see people whose life stopped after high school. They couldn’t make it through the change to adulthood so they spend their life reliving the “glory days” and not living “today.”
I will go through the growth pains. I will embrace the next stage in life. I want to enjoy it as thoroughly as I have enjoyed the one that is ending.
And, I will write about it in hopes that it will help others who face the same challenge and to encourage those who are currently parents to enjoy every challenging day because it will be gone before you know it.