Have you entered the storehouses of the snow...Job 38:22

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Most Dangerous Question of All

The last few days have been largely uneventful. I am reminded of the beauty of ordinary days. Even though they are boring, when appreciated you realize that life changes in an instant. I had lunch with someone yesterday and we talked about how life changes in an instant. Everything familiar can become a mocking reality of what has been taken or lost.

I’ve been thinking a lot about loss the last few days. I am experiencing the lost of yet another dream, of a plan gone bad. I am so tired of this. I am too old for this. At this point in my life, life should have less wrinkles. It should be pressed smooth. It has already had great pressure and heat. Isn't that supposed to smooth the wrinkles? I should be able to say, yes, I am doing this. Or no, I am not doing that. It should have some definitiveness.

I’ve written before about my sadness about leaving the seminary. I’ve talked about plan A, B, C, and whatever this latest plan is – the plan to get an EdD. Sometimes I wonder if I should just stop and be an old person. Maybe I could just be a granny and take trips to visit grandchildren. Or be content to just be a good wife who gets up every morning, no matter how much I want to sleep and fixes oatmeal for her husband. (I really do that.) My husband never wants for clean clothes or a hot meal. I smell up the kitchen routinely with fresh curry dishes for him for lunch. He is a spoiled man.

my husband's favorite dish, Aloo Gobi

I’d like to go off on a tangent now and talk about how I would like to be a spoiled woman. However, that would make this blog just about personal whining. That is never productive for any of us. But for the record, I’d like to know what it is like to be spoiled.  Maybe that is another loss as well since I doubt I’ll ever know. Yes, that’s sarcasm.

I was watching Oprah the other day. I don’t watch her all the time because if I did, then I’d really feel like someone with no life. This day she had Queen Rania from Jordan. She was there to promote her new children’s book. I wonder why a Queen would need to promote her book? Strikingly attractive and articulate, the Queen shared she was about to turn forty. Oprah assured her that the 40’s are wonderful and said wait until you get to your 50’s! It's wonderful!

In some ways, I agree with Oprah. Life is different after 50. All of a sudden, it is like some wisdom switch turns on and you understand things that you never really did before. It’s hard to explain. Your body isn’t what it used to be and sometimes it gives you trouble. But you feel the same inside as you did when you were 20. Best of all, your mind, your understanding is alive with all sorts of new insight.  A friend recently said that at this age she felt the ripest.

I feel that way. I am free from the constraints of raising children (and of that I did more than my share). While I deeply feel the lost of my mother, I no longer have concerns about her care. South Dakota could be a place where I reinvent myself and give of my wisdom to better life here. And yet, once again, everywhere I turn, I am faced with loss of dreams. Even my offerings of knowledge, faith, understanding, gifts and intelligence are set aside by decisions of others.

I realize I am now at the stage of anger in this grief process.  We are so afraid of saying we are angry. An old boss at a mental health center where I worked used to always ask the patients, are you mad, glad, sad or scared? Mostly the answer was sad. They dealt with deep issues. Nevertheless, usually the prevailing emotion, admitted or not, sometimes deeply hidden underneath, was mad.

I’m mad. I know there is nothing wrong with anger. It is a human emotion. What you do with your anger determines its correctness. Right now, I want to express my anger in some vengeful way toward the person that I have now perceived as the person who took this dream away. He is clueless to the level of pain and disappointment he has caused. But that is always the way, isn’t it? People go on with their lives, they have made decisions, spread discouragement, not offering help and they just go on. Unaffected by their decision their life is the same. Their paycheck is the same. Their dreams continue. Yours are shattered.

Once again, one of my dreams has become a nightmare robbing two years from the quickly diminishing years remaining.  Once fruit is ripe, it can rot much faster. There is an urgency to my timetable that wasn’t there when I was 20 or 30 or even 40. So I scramble to move on.  I have a new plan. Hopefully it will be the final plan leading to contributions of my substance. Yet, still, I wonder why the brightest spot in my South Dakota life, dreams I hoped to be fullfilled at Sioux Falls Seminary had to die.

Why? The most dangerous and unproductive question of all. 

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