Thursday, October 13, 2016

October Birthday

  I will be 47 in a week or so.

  I've been thinking about mid life crises :-).  I'm about that age, I think.

  Over the last few months, I read Ecclesiastes.  It is a strange book of the Bible, probably written by King Solomon, filled with verses like this:

Ecclesiastes 1:2New International Version (NIV)
“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
    says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.”

That's cheery!

I am not a theologian so I'm just going to mention the one big thing I "got" from Ecclesiastes this time around.

From Chapter 2:24-25

24 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God,25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 

  These verses follow a long diatribe about how Solomon tried to find joy and pleasure in doing "stuff" -- planting vineyards, building palaces, etc.  But ultimately, from an earthly perspective, it was all meaningless because eventually Solomon would die and everything he had accomplished on earth would be in the care of his successor. And Solomon, being gloomy, said his successor might well be  fool.  That turned out to be true, by the way -- the son who succeeded him made many poor decisions.


  The big thing for me is taking time to enjoy and take pleasure in what is going on RIGHT now in my life.

  Our culture encourages people to have goals.  Goals are good. They are.

 But being dominated by goals CAN make someone constantly look to the future and not be satisfied in the present.

  When I was younger, I was constantly looking to the future and impatiently waiting to succeed in some area.  Get an A in the class.  Finish my undergraduate degree.  Get the PhD.  Get pregnant.  Get through the pregnancy.  Have the baby sleep through the night.  Pay off the debt.  And so on.

  The problem with being so goal oriented is that I was constantly impatient and not satisfied with what was happening at that moment in my life.  Also, and this might have been more serious, there were seasons of my life (my PhD years in particular) when I put academics above relationships, which wasn't healthy.

  During this season of life, I am working to enjoy the present.  I want to take pleasure in the craziness of toddlerhood -- even though sometimes Rose's antics wear me out.  But this is a precious time in her life.

  I want to enjoy books I read for fun and walks on our "property".  I want to relish what is right around me, what is happening right now.

  I don't really have any big goals right now that involve completing a specific task or accomplishing something specific.  I want to focus more on daily work and finding meaning and pleasure in those things. I want to focus even more on relationships with my husband, children and friends.

  This means working against the voice in my head that says I am not accomplishing "enough" -- whatever enough is!  I've felt pushed to do more for as long as I can remember.  I did accomplish many things from a worldly perspective, but I constantly felt like the finish line was ahead of me and I could never quite get there.

  So for now, I'm going to try to find satisfaction in my daily toil.


1 comment:

whimsy2 said...

You are very wise, Laraba.