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Turning Pages

“Turning, turning, turning through the years…minutes into hours, hours into years…” This lyric from Les Misérables has been gnawing at me for some time. It was just after the last fight was lost at the barricades and the women were cleaning up the debris, remembering what was lost, trying to find hope to hold on to for the future.

There are similar sentiments in the book of Ecclesiastes…all is futile, a chasing after the wind. Change comes and goes, and no one knows where or how and everyone asks if anything will ever be normal again. Time ticks off each moment as we struggle to see around the corner, so we can make our plans to be better off tomorrow than we are in the here and now. It has taken me quite some time to realize there is nothing I can do to make things happen in the way I want them to or hold back the turning of the pages of life…all is in His hands and it is my choice to surrender now and follow His leading…or surrender later and…

The past four years has been difficult. My mom passed away of Alzheimer’s in 2016 and shortly after I went through a bit of a funk where I did not want to share anything with anyone. I was tired of feelings and emotions, tired of hugs and sympathies…tired of people who just did not know what to do or say doing and saying nothing. Then the first of our kids left home after high school and a couple years later the second one left. Empty nesting has been difficult for homeschool parents who have spent nearly 24/7/365 with their kids. We felt a bit empty and a bit lost to be honest. My wife decided to return to school to complete Nurse Practitioner school while working full time and my job as an Academic Advisior became unbearable due to all the political posturing and back-biting that I refused to be a part of. Through contract wrangling with the HR department my job was eliminated and I was forced to either “play the game” or leave – I chose to leave with my integrity in tact. Then out of the blue our house sold and we had to quickly move from a 1400 square foot house to a 750 square foot temporary city apartment.

Then Covid happened…I shut down my blog, quit writing all together, put the book I’d been puttering away at on the shelf and went silent…in many ways. Staying internal meant safety, security, not having to be anything for anyone. I’ve spent many months screaming inside, “what about me???”, but no one can hear when you close yourself off.  But someone was listening…always has been…always will be…and He has heard me. Funny thing is, His response to my cry has been the same… “what about me?”

I have been a fool. All my focus has been on what is happening around me. I have been thinking it is all happening to me, believing that there is no way through or around or over the mountains in my way, I have been deaf to the still small voice I heard so very clearly on an aircraft carrier in Lake Michigan (that’s another story) once, “What do you see?”  My answer now, as it was back then, “You are here…only you.” The realization came once again that the Good Lord is the answer to every question ever asked, every struggle too difficult, every mountain too steep, every soul still wandering. And the understanding dawned yet again that He doesn’t send anything our way without also providing the way through.

So, a page is turning. We are settled on a new home on 10 acres in the country, the kids are doing well in their new lives and my wife an I are finally learning to settle into this empty nest…and finding that it is really not so empty. The book in process may soon come off the shelf and this blog is an attempt to get back to a simpler way of looking at life looking through the lens of Micah 6:8, “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (NKJV) An attempt to remind myself and others that we are nothing without our loving God and all he really asks of us is to do right by those he brings into our lives, to be as merciful and forgiving as He has been to us, and to walk with Him…always…

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