Sympathy, Understanding, and Time

I have to admit, I wish I’d given up fighting against Chef’s midlife crisis months ago. The peace of surrender has been holding for days now.

Chef never really reads much of what I write. He hasn’t ever been the kind of guy that reads a book or surfs the internet, and really, I haven’t thought too much about it. I’ve been careful to let him know I’ve written about him, and give him a brief run-down of what I said, but he’s had his mind on other things, and my little blog wasn’t high on his priority list.

The evening before last, though, he came home in an odd mood, and after some conversations about his day and mine, he asked to see what I had written that day about him. I pulled up A Marriage is Over  on his computer, and then left his office. When I checked on him a little while later, I could tell he’d been tearing up about something. I asked him if I’d written something he’d not liked, and he just shook his head and pointed to his screen.

This comment was on the screen:

Chef and I appear to be around the same age, which got me thinking.
This was in my drafts.I too write down my thoughts to sort through them. I thought about how to make this a post but I’ve concluded it won’t see the light of day.
Maybe you can get some use out of it if Chef can relate to this at all.
It may help you understand him more,…or not.
Any how,…

To me, A MID-LIFE CRISIS is when I realise I have to give up some or all of my dreams because I don’t have enough time left to make them reality.

Time and circumstances beyond our control can dictate our outcome regardless of desire.

I now realize i am in trasition from a dreams based existance to one of mostly memories.

What I wished for never was and the reality of what is only reminds me of that all the more.

Don’t get me wrong! All my family, friends, job, each are blessings, but I had a few dreams for life that I reserved under the file name,”maybe someday”, and now I know they need to be filed under,”Not Likely.”

One consolation is that I still have the here and now.

Blogging about Jesus helps tremendously, but I can’t put as much time in writing well as I want to.
I admit that I feel some shame at ignoring the present. After all, the present has never forsaken me, though the future, as I have dreamt it could be, seems long gone.
I suppose the grief I feel in a mid life crisis is similar to that of the loss of a loved one, only I’m the loved one.

So I feel some measure of shame too. That makes it hard to talk about it.

As with any loss, silence with sympathy, understanding and time, may give the best hope to heal all wounds.


The writer at Christ Centered Teaching had written this letter on my post, A Pictorial Guide to Bird’s Latest Crisis, and I’d been waiting to show Chef what he had written until I thought he’d actually want to read it. With Chef, I have to choose my timing…sometimes he appreciates me giving him information, and other times, my thirst for knowledge simply irritates him. After reams of paper lost on my research into midlife crisises over the last few months, I no longer offer up answers to unasked questions. But what really struck me to the core was what CCT wrote for me — sympathy, understanding, and time, all done silently. Basically, all the things God wanted me to do all along.

Ironically, it took another man who had experience with this dilemma to write a comment on a joke-post of mine that Chef accidentally found while scoping my site for the first time ever, to actually reach Chef’s heart. I am so appreciative for that comment right now…for Chef, but for me as well. Sympathy and time don’t seem to be what I struggle with. My real struggle has been to understand.

I have always tried to understand a problem from Chef’s point of view, and I find myself frustrated by this emotional upheaval he is having because I simply can not get a grasp on it. To me, problems have always been things to break down to their simplest forms and to be attacked at their weakest link.

With this midlife thing though, I am coming to understand that my spiritual nature from the Lord simply won’t understand how to hold on to things of this life, but instead I view myself as an alien in a strange world, and I deeply long for the day that I go home to heaven. Where the breakdown occurs with Chef and me  is our varying levels of spiritual maturity and faith. My faith, while always constantly being tested, really isn’t shakable at all, while his is still being questioned in his own head. He has an infant faith. And since I am unable, and unwilling, to love this life more than I should, the only logical thing to me was to get him to move into a closer relationship with the Lord, which would change his outlook on life in general from an earthly viewpoint to a more heavenly perspective.

I really am a lofty dreamer, aren’t I? What a dork I am!!

It is really much clearer to me today why God wanted me to stay out of it. All the reasons I came up with before are true. I’m thinking, though, that God didn’t want me to keep beating Chef up with spiritual meat that he simply wouldn’t be able to chew. He’d only choke on it.

By embracing faith through me, his faith would never hold up against even a tiny attack from satan. God has to establish his own truths to Chef directly. In essence, I’m not any better a solid cornerstone for Chef’s life than he was as a cornerstone for mine.

Our shaky little shanty of a marriage we had built all these years on the shifting sands of manipulation, control, self-deception, and misaligned priorities has truly been swept away, and already we are both seeing the signs of new construction on the site. For a few brief hours, there was an actual excitement and hope in our future, and it was enough to feed me for a really long while.

Thanks, CCT, for sharing your perspective with Chef and me, and I thank Jesus that the work is going to come back to Him completed…

— Bird



36 responses to “Sympathy, Understanding, and Time”

  1. Some great wisdom there that I’ll have to remember for our future. Mid-life crisis hasn’t hit our home yet.


  2. There is nothing more profound than to read something from someone who has been through the same thing as Chef read from CCT …May it be the beginning of insight for Chef into some of the possible reasons he is feeling the way he is….Prayers will be with you….Diane


    • You are absolutely right, Diane! What a blessing to me as well as Chef..CCT was able to convey what I couldn’t and I truly appreciate him taking the moment to do so. Thank you for your prayers!


  3. Wonderful post! I like Chef, even though I have never met him and probably never will – he seems to be a very sensitive and caring man! Oh yea, I like you too!

    Walk daily with God at your side!



    • In all the years we’ve been together, I’ve rarely seen anyone not just love him. He’s very charismatic and has a really funny sense of humor. If he cares about you, he’d do anything for you. He’s just an easy guy to love!


  4. CCT may have written what Chief had no words for. Having words for what he is feeling may be all Chief needs to start healing. I pray and hope for this.


  5. This is such a fascinating post as I’ve been thinking so much along the lines of a mid-life shift, not necessarily crisis, in my life.

    This is the time of life where I begin attending more funerals than weddings or baby showers. It is a tough mind shift in this world of ‘fighting the signs of aging’ and all. As if we can!

    With TBI many of my dreams were cast out like feathers on the waves to return if they may, but, for the most part the lesson learned with TBI (for me) is letting go…of everything. Sometimes my own desires or dreams can actually hurt me because they are simply unattainable. I can’t change some things but gosh, it’s in my best interest to adapt (I’ve learned the hard way!!!)

    This is really a beautiful, thought-provoking post and am grateful for your sharing your chef and CCT with us. Life…it’s a process! Hugs & love to you and chef. 🙂


    • Thank you so much for sharing some of your insight and perspective. It really helps me to understand. I guess because of the childhood I had, I have never set big dreams, and frankly, I’ve kind of achieved more than I really thought I would. So,for me, it isn’t hard to let go…but I can see where Chef might have a harder time. I appreciate your comment!!


  6. Bird,
    I’m so glad you and Chef benefited from the piece I shared.
    I had to. Even though I wasn’t sure if it could help, I thought maybe it could.
    I think reading what you two have been going through made me face these things myself.
    You’ve been through so much.
    I can say now that I’m more grateful than words can express to hear it helped.
    I love God. He is so good!


    • God really is good!! I think He was directing your hand, because Chef really doesn’t ever look at my blog. It was odd that he would suddenly be interested enough to not only read my writings, but then read the comments as well. You have no idea how much I appreciate your insight!!! THANK YOU!!


  7. Oh my God…oh my awesome God. Nothing is impossible with God…your post here drives it home even more. So glad for you and Chef for this progress. ❤


  8. hey there, i’m 46 in a few days and have been going thru my own sort of ‘midlife’ crisis for the last two yrs since my dad passed (also in june). sux but i gotta get thru it. mine means losing my job october the same year and not really having my bearings on a permanent one since.
    Brandy has been very patient, but i need to kick my own *** into gear. fighting alot of self doubt, fear, and depression. i’m not sure if this is where chef is, but maybe we need both compassion and a ‘swift boot’. chef seems like he can be trust you for both.


    • Lol..well, he’s gotten to boot end of my foot a few times, but it didn’t help much. With Chef, I think he is already kicking himself enough that if I help, I’m unintentionally confirming his fears and doubts about himself. I have faith that between God and himself, Chef will get his bearings back. I love to hear men’s take on this kind of problem….I seriously have no idea how it feels!


  9. Beautiful! My Beloved is at this stage, too. I couldn’t understand all that was going on. But now I do. Thanks for sharing this!



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