Thursday, December 31, 2015
The End of Multiple Eras
I was awake at 3:30 this morning and never went back to sleep. After spending 6 hours with the CEO at my new job yesterday my mind was spinning. I also learned that trying to get anything done with Dominyk here in the evenings probably isn't gonna happen. He tends to talk. Incessantly. to the dogs, to me, to himself. The words that he is saying are innocuous. There are just so. many. of. them.
So here I am at my computer not the last day of 2015 recognizing that it is the end of an era. It's not just the end of a year, but the end of a few really good runs.
Here are the eras that area all ending on this day:
1) The era of living with a lot of people. I mean a lot. Since 1999 we have had anywhere from 5 to 17 people living in our home at once. The months that there were five of us we also had an additional one home on weekends and that period of time lasted less than 5 months. Most of the time we have had between 8 and 17 people in our home. When the kids were little (at one point we had 9 between the ages of 5 and 15) life was a blur of busy chaotic adventure. We spent lots of time at parks and pools and doing things together as a family. Then we moved into the teenage years where life was basically spent in the van with me making sure everyone was where they were supposed to be. Had there been internet and a toilet in the van I may not have ever had to get out. It was also the time when drama was high, police came often, bad choices were made, and grandchildren started to appear. And the last segment, over the last several years, has been possibly the most difficult. Adult children were in situations that their choices had created, and yet we were still living with a houseful of them who we were supporting and had no motivation to move on. So even though this was NOT the reason I took this job and we have them set up with good, reasonably priced options to live independently, we did find the answer to the question some of you may be asking "how do you get your adult kids to move out." Answer: Sell the house and move far far away.
2) The era of being close to our grandchildren. We have had so much fun with our grandkids during the past 6 years. Even though all but one of them has had some drama surrounding their little lives, grand-parenting is a great gig. We will now be entering the phase of "FaceTime Grand-parenting" which many people have gotten really good at. We will still see them a couple times a year in person, but we will have to be much more intentional about connecting with them.
3) The pastoring together era. It looks like, for the next six months, we will be living an hour and 20 minutes apart. I will stay in my townhouse 3-4 nights a week and go to stay with Bart in the parsonage on weekends. While I will still be attending church with Bart, I will no longer have options to sing in choirs, ring handbells, be in a praise band, or do midweek activities. I will be plenty busy with PHFS responsibilities, but I will miss the DAILY parts of ministry that Bart and I have done together. In each of our churches there have been folks who have buried themselves deeply into my heart and I will miss them and the opportunity to do that here.
4) The Bethany Era. Wow, what a great run that was. I met and worked with some of the finest people that exist in this world hands down. Locally, we took a struggling, near death branch and as a team turned it around. I got to work with employees who became some of my best friends and I got to hire one of my best friends to be my employee. I was surrounded by people who I loved and consumed by a mission and a passion that trumps all others. On the Regional Director front I had a great team of Branch Directors who I supervised, and was led by a team of passionate folks who continue to wrestle with how to best be a ministry and a business that is authentically Christian in a very fast-growing agency, now the largest adoption agency in the world. And I cannot fail to mention my fellow RDs -- I loved being able to consider myself one of these intelligent, mission driven, authentically faithful followers of Jesus. I am already knee deep in the challenges of the future, but tears come to my eyes as I think about this being my last official day at Bethany and how much I have truly loved that job and those people.
5) The "My Husband is Right Next to Me" era. If you don't know my husband, you are missing out because he is a phenomenal person. He has been by my side supporting and encouraging me every single day for nearly 20 years. He has taken care of things on the home front for most of our marriage, but especially the last three years, so that I could do a big job. Our marriage is stronger than ever, but the era has ended of us being in the same place every night -- or at least it has been paused. I'm a resilient person, and we talk often throughout the day, but I miss him. He reminded me that he hasn't seen much of me the past three and a half years anyway, but he has been my rock every night, even if we only had 5-10 minutes to talk before we fell asleep exhausted.
6) The short era of seeing my mom at least once a week. It's been such a great two and half years of being close to her. But nobody is more excited about our adventure here than she is. She is happy to be where she is and she is an amazing person and seeing her with my kids and grandkids has been such a joy. I hadn't lived in the same town with her since I left for college, so it's been a real treat.
7) The Era of this being my only blog. I am intentionally seeking duller moments. I am hoping that I will experience more psychic space and have more margins in my life to get healthier. So it is my intention to create a new blog called "The Next Chapter" where I will post well-written, thought-provoking, not-an-embarrassment to my employer entries -- and keep this one for family updates, reports on how often I poop, stupid things my kids say, and anything else my heart desires. Stay tuned for the link to that blog.
So as I wind down 2015, many eras are ending. But here are some things that are NOT changing:
1) My God is a God of adventure and He continues to call Bart and I into waters that are always just a little too deep. He invites us into oceans of dependence on Him that allow us to see Him do cool things. He is right there, guiding us and making our lives a great adventure as we follow him into the glorious unknown every day.
2) My kids are still my kids. I still love them. I still try to err on the side of grace. We will still be a major part of their lives from afar (or very very close by in Dominyk's case right now). We will continue to pray for them that God will change the things in them that we have been unable to change and that he will protect them.
3) My mom will remain my role model, my example of what it means to be a person of prayer, and my biggest fan from afar. I will talk to her often -- maybe even more often than I did when I was so crazy busy and lived in the same town she did.
4) My husband will remain my best friend and we will work out the distance thing and our marriage will be stronger.
5) The people around me will change but the tapestry of my life will remain altered by the relationships I have had in Minnesota. I will gain new friends, but keep the old and my life will always be full of good people and good times. As I have told many... I'm not dying or moving to the moon...
6) I will remain in a job that is fueled by my passion and impacts the things that God cares about most. I will remain challenged and enjoy the journey.
Life is interesting. Unpredictable. Exciting. And change, while it isn't always easy, is not always a bad thing.
So as several eras end, new ones begin and I look ahead to the next ones with enthusiasm as I let go of the past.
But I still gotta admit I have tears in my eyes....