Maybe it was Dad retiring earlier this year.
I know it the final stages of dementia and the death of Rick's father.
And the effects of so many other things over the past couple of years coming together in the perfect snowball of these three things to hit me: retirements, resignations, illness, recover, publication, new hires, new faces, new people, the old passing away and the new coming.
These last eight months have been a wake up call. And wake up calls, while necessary, are rarely pleasant. You think you're safe. You think everything is alright. Then one day, without warning, here comes the call, the email, the announcement, that turns your world upside down. Or is it really without warning? Were the signs there all along and you were too busy going along your business (or rather, being so glad that the struggles of others are theirs and not yours that you forget things like compassion and empathy until your world is turned upside down) to notice what was coming. The one thing that's really struck me in the months since Rick's father passed away is how people get consumed with the insignificant and sweep what really matters under the rug or out of the way until it's too late to appreciate; too late to apologize; too l ate to repair; too late to get it back. We think we're safe; and we're wrong. Every last one of us.
Rick was talking to me about what a strange place it is to lose a parent. He told me to enjoy the time I have with my own parents because there is such a thing as time running out, and it always happens sooner than you think; whether you realize it's coming (like he did) or not (like with my grandparents, who died suddenly and unexpectedly). The rest of forever comes one day, and it can be weird.
I told him that I can only relate to him on the final points, because the effect his father's illness and death had on me was a major wake up call. I saw it when Dad had his stroke 12 years ago - we're lucky he completely recovered, and I never forgot the lesson but did forget the intensity. And the lessons don't always come from illness or death. I had it 4 years ago when my job was moved with much bigger consequences (and many surprises) that I never saw coming. I've seen it when change swept through from retirements, resignations, terms starting, terms ending, opportunities taken, run their course, ended, and refused, moves away, moves back, moves in, illness and recovery, trial and tragedy. Death isn't the only thing that takes things away. Change, even good change, always means laying aside the old to take up the new, and not everything or everybody can go with you. Sometimes you see it coming. Sometimes you don't. Always, it takes more than expected and always, it returns more than expected. You just have to work through the grief of loss before you embrace the blessing of what it.
I feel like I've seen a little bit of everything that life's had to offer over the past five years. I've wrestled with life and death. I've dealt with transition and change. I've seen peaks and valleys. I've watched the tide rise and fall more times than I can count. That I'm not only still standing but have managed to thrive and continue to grow in spite of it all is amazing. Perhaps it's a testimony to maturity. Maybe I finally get it. Or maybe I'm just sick of going around the same old mountains all the time and I'm ready for a new view. I remember somebody telling me before my work move "you know, they aren't perfect either. You'll have problems over there." My reply was "I know that, but at least they'll be new problems, and not the same old ones I've been wrestling with for over a decade." You get tired of the same old fights. Eventually, you're ready to move on, knowing there will be new challenges but for goodness sake, at least you can leave the old behind you where it belongs and perhaps find new blessings to fill where the old ones have run their course.
Yes, I have felt a bit alien lately, and it's no wonder. It's a lot to take in. It takes some time to realize that the trials and tragedies of yesterday should lead not to paranoia but to a greater appreciation for today and what is to come. The world keeps turning, so you're best off going with it, one day at a time. Pray, do what you can, and let the world flow. And as I realize that releasing the worries of times or seasons is the best way for me to go, I realize something else: I'm starting to feel more human now than I have in a long time. Thanks be to God.
That's all today. Take care, and have a great week.