These days, I spend my lunch hours with Doctors, Nurses, and Deans. Oh, and Christy, the Admin. Between the array of degrees and personalities, each lunch experience holds its own uniqueness. Yesterday, the topic of conversation was Donald and his wife. (Names are changed for sake of their marriage here, people.)
Donald's wife just lost her job of 27 years. "Forced early retirement", they're calling it. Just in the beginning of her sixties, Donald's wife comes to him and says she may just be done working. She's worked since the day of her 15th birthday, after all, and is relieved to just be done.
As Donald tells the story, his eyes are popped wide open, his eyebrows in a quivering state, and his hands are shaking in what looks like Gangnam style. Then, he starts to give us the signs of when he's losing it. This way, we'll be able to get him immediate attention.
As he sat, eating his Pho', we each (as women, you know) tried to provide comfort, aid, and realistic approaches. I mentioned that it's probably just the exhale of a stressful job, finally coming to a close. "She's taking time to breath; the pressure and stress of it all is being lifted and she feels like living life again, rather than working it all away. She'll go back to do something." I was sure of this actually, as I've been there a couple of times this year already.
"She could do hobby work!" one woman yelped.
"She'll have time to do work on the house!" another cried.
"Won't it be so nice, to see her all of the time?" another mentioned.
Donald's face just buried further into the giant bowl, trying not to say the things about his beloved wife that we all knew were right on the tip of the tongue, and always in the forefront of his mind.
Finally, he simply said, "we're just in a transition."
He calmed himself (because the women certainly weren't) and talked about the movements and changings of life, and how every so often, we go through an unexpected glitch. And here, all along, I thought the late teens and early twenties were the rough seas of the ocean of life. I hoped that by thirty there would be a home settled into, a career routinely done and very well recognized, and patterns of friends, activities, ministries, and goals being achieved. Donald, however, kind of just squashed that idea.
"The truth is," he spoke, "there is always another transition around the corner. Just once you've settled in and gotten comfortable, there is something else to stir the pot, rough the waters. The deal is, do you let it actually rough your waters? Or do you just say, alright, fine, and watch the sails whip around? Because right now I think I'm just going to dive overboard and toss in the towel, I'm kind of losing it, but maybe I need to chin up and go with the flow".
And I think he is right. I think I'll be very disappointed if I go through life waiting for the waters to even out. I think that around every corner is another opportunity for growth, and every opportunity for growth is also an opportunity for transition, change, adjustment...all the things I don't so much enjoy, of course.
I also think that every one of these moments gives me the chance to complain, worry, and fret, OR wait and see. Because, you know, God is always doing something, He's always moving. And do I want to be the foolish one who worries constantly, and then when He does something great, look like a Great Unbeliever? Or would I rather look up and say, "I knew You would do that,"?
Donald and I choose not to be the worrying, unbelievers, but instead the people who sail the seas and laugh when things actually turn out.
In the meantime, until Thursday at lunchtime, please, oh please, tell us how.