While one daydreams about turning that magic age of 40, one wants to celebrate what appears to be a life half lived. This year new thoughts come to mind, but it is by this time that maybe college is far off in the past, the children are all growing and taking their own journeys, and the thought of the last decades of lasting life impact and meaning are strung out on the horizon.
Each passing day, it is funny how new personal and family expectations come to mind. There is a point that even though I think about the daily expectations that sometimes I want to remind myself not to think of those, but instead the day doesn’t really allow that for anyone unless of course you find yourself taking a really great nap. Thankfully, this week I had one of those days. I am sounding older already. I have also begun to think about what a much more condensed life might look like and what I really need in my life. When my oldest was growing up, we would tag a lot of agenda items onto our day all for the sheer effort of trying new sports, new clubs, new experiences, to help our family develop into what was our thought of “well rounded,” and as you are constantly re-evaluating your year to year experiences, there can be a place for that, but at 40, I am sure some of these scheduled efforts are not always worth the daily consumption.
In the center of the home, I desire to look deeply for the joy and the faithfulness to a vision not merely for me arriving at my dreams in my family relationship to satisfy perhaps all of the educational, familial, and spiritual aims, which I seem to enjoy like most, but to align and realign to the growing needs and desires of my family. In the last fifteen years, with children I see how the family runs freely. It also trickles out into many channels in the oceans of life.
I am beginning to see, as many can relate to; it never is all about us as parents, and eventually those fifteen-year-old sons and daughters will be changing and adapting to satisfy there own relational needs with corsages, boutonnieres, new music with wireless speakers, driving lessons and much more challenging course work. Some way, all that you thought was easy to manage for your children’s life becomes their inertia that propels your living forward.
In a book titled Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior, I appreciate her explanation of the family and marriage according to Hannah More, “A happy marriage was a channel for allowing the individual to satisfactorily employ whatever gifts and talents had been bestowed on him or her by God for the benefit of all, within the family and without.” I like this because the design of “for the benefit of all” resonates that turning forty with a family is a beneficial relationship to hold onto with joy and love. It is also one that needs to be cherished realizing that eventually the family choices set in motion will be continued with their own inertia.
Doesn’t the family life develop and change in ways that are new and exciting and sometimes rather unexpectedly? During those times, we can draw strength knowing that a happy life is God’s love for each member of the family and always seeking to have more of His love and joy.
“A new command I give you; love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34 (N.I.V.)