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:

Bird,
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.

C.C.T.

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

 

 

Thanks, God, But I Don’t Think You Understand…

Today, I’m thinking about forgiveness. Not forgiveness for other people, but forgiveness for yourself.

To me, forgiving myself has always been my number one stumbling block. I have no problem forgiving other people for failing me, or God, or other people. Call it a self-esteemissue, or whatever, but I didn’t used to set the

For better self-flagellation...Here's a clue: No matter what you do to yourself, physical or emotional, your blood is worthless. Only Jesus's was worth anything.

bar all that high for my fellow human beings, so when they failed, I almost just expected it. Satan hates us all, and he’s been doing his job a lot longer than any of us have been alive. It would be embarrassing for him if he wasn’t a master at it by now! And I know how much Jesus loves all of us, so it was with heart-felt sincerity that I would lend a hand to lift my brothers and sisters up, dust them off, and encourage them to keep on trucking down their proverbial road.

But that same courtesy just didn’t apply to myself, as I felt that I knew what I was supposed to be doing, feeling, saying…but when I didn’t fulfill whatever it was I thought God wanted of me, I would plunge into a self-hatred, despairing emotional valley, and lick my wounds for days down there. And it was in one of these dark little valleys that Jesus stepped in and shone His light on what was really happening. And you know, He only had to say one word to me for it all to become crystal clear — Pride.

You see, somehow I had elevated myself over other people by thinking that while they were doomed to fail, and Jesus’s sacrifice was complete and perfect for them, somehow God expected more from me…why? Because I was better? Because I was special? And then I would fail and fail and fail. I’d hide away in my little pity party, refusing to be comforted, refusing to answer my God’s voice. And by hiding down in my valley, feeling sorry for myself, I was telling Jesus, “Hey, thanks for dying on the cross and all, but Your sacrifice just wasn’t good enough to cover my sins.” What a big, fat lie from satan, and he snuck it past my ever vigilant brain quite easily.

I deal with my shortcomings differently now, by focusing on how Jesus taught us to pray. I am always paying attention to those tiny little voices that try to convince me that I have something to be proud of…pride is too easily introduced to me, so I pay very close attention to anything that would let satan slip that one past my guards. And when I pray, I embrace the humility of being an imperfect child of God, and then forgive myself, not giving it more importance than any other sin should be given. Jesus was pretty clear in His Word, even our good works are like dirty rags to God. Nothing to be all that proud of down here… 🙂

So, today, I’m starting out my day by asking God’s forgiveness for my ever-present failings, and then I’m forgiving myself right after, and I’m going to start my day with a fresh slate — both in God’s eyes, and my own.

Hope everyone has the best day of their lives today!

— Bird

Today I wrote this What’s In A Name? at 20 Lines A Day about how I insulted a biker… 🙂