The enormous change in our family 2 years ago -- going from 2 to 5 children -- threw me for a loop. Other things were going on at the time as well and all of the stress and change left me ungrounded. I am not saying that on the whole I've been floundering; but there have been lots of times of unbalance. I have struggled to right myself more than I would like.
I know myself; I am a person who craves structure; the rhythm of our days has been more discordant than I prefer. Yet I have stood in; I have been willing, on the whole, to take the deep breath, to make an adjustment (or half a dozen), to keep coming back to the truth and my true center.
I think this is the blessing of mid-life. The storms that would have rocked our little-seedling-new-lifestyle right out of the soil in my 30s or 40s seem more able to be weathered at this phase of life. I have the good soil now: an active faith that sustains me, practices that right me when I get pushed over, support that upholds me until I regain my strength. I am less easily uprooted these days, no matter how tenacious the storm.
It has been a long and tenacious storm. There is so much to be tended to with a large family and I put so much pressure on myself to do it all. I recognize the storm has brewed - largely -- from within. Hurricanes start at the center, don't they?
And now, I feel a shift. My sense of purpose is deepening, I feel myself softening at the edges, the new realities around me are taking root. It is, in part, the new opportunity of Lent that is encouraging this growth in me, but I also think it is time. Two years is a good time to grow in love for these youngsters, a sufficient time for the original four of us to reform our systems and our relationships with one another.
Relationships have to be maintained, of course; we are so not done yet! There will still be weeding and culling and reshaping the ground as we move forward as a family into the future. Yet we are in the spring it seems, in fertile ground for setting those good roots that will withstand a future tempest.
I stand encouraged and full of hope. I can't wait to see what the spring brings.
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