Last week we parked our camp chairs in the shade at a nearby lake. It was a time for connecting, relaxing and reading. I went prepared (this is unusual) with a few questions for the two of us. I wanted to hear from my husband’s heart. I didn’t want us to just talk about work or the heavy stuff we carry, which we often do. It was nice. These kinds of conversations really help me feel connected to our being a couple, being best friends. We can get lost in care giving and in ministry. Those are things we do but not who we are. My questions were designed to reconnect with forgotten places within ourselves and to hear my husband’s heart.
What has been life-giving for you in this season of life?
What has been life-draining for you in this season of life?
What are you longing for?
After sharing we both tucked into our books but I found myself watching birds, listening to their conversations and reflecting on our season of life. I suggested to Jim we should come to the lake once a month for a year and document the changes. When we first arrived we saw 3 osprey circling. One eventually perched in a dead tree – we have often seen one there – while the others disappeared. We saw numerous red-winged blackbirds flying from one location to the next. Before their shift was over we saw a flock of 40 or 50 red-winged blackbirds. I enjoy taking notice of the natural world around me and am always mesmerized by the variety of flora, fauna and wildlife God created.
In my relaxed state while enjoying nature I wrote down a few questions for processing in my journal when I got home. Here are the questions.
What season of life do I (we) find ourselves in right now?
Are we in the beginning, middle or end of the season?
What are my feelings about this season?
What are some limitations of this season?
How might I welcome this season and lean into what God is teaching me?
What matters to me during this season?
And I think I would add: What gifts have turned up in this season?
Some of my responses were quite personal but here are a few things I recognized: we are in a season of care giving. Actually my husband is in a season of care giving and I am in a season of taking care of the care giver. Both are a privilege and both are challenging. My husband has a hard time not doing everything else as usual even when he is in a significant season of transition – a change that requires so much more of you than the everyday, ordinary responsibilities. And this season was plopped into the middle of his cancer season, which has ended except for the intense side effects.
I am very much a part of his seasons but I have a little season of my own sitting alongside the bigger transitional season of care giving. I am in the beginning of some portions of my season and the middle of others. The beginning is a little nerve wracking. Well, sometimes a lot nerve wracking. You, the reader, are a big consideration for me during this season. I show up to encourage you and help you find God in your everyday life. I am very interested in what season you find yourself in and how you are being effected. What are you needing in this season?
Take some time to consider the questions regarding your season of life.
Do you find yourself in the beginning, middle or ending of a season?
What is sustaining you?
What is draining you?
What’s God’s invitation to you?
Have you made plans for something to look forward to in the not too distant future?
I am in the beginning to middle phase of considering how this blog might serve you best going forward. How can I best support you? I want to bring a sharper focus to the things I write for you. I am also considering an email list so I can offer a newsletter for people interested in something more than a personal essay, and with a deeper spiritual challenge and a few reflection questions to help deepen your connection to God. Another consideration, scarier, is I do short talks on Instagram. What is your preference: reading or listening? I would really appreciate your feedback.