Sunday, February 07, 2010

Attempting To Put My Mind at Ease

I thought I was done for the evening, but I guess not. I'm not saying that melancholy won out, but I really feel the need to get some things out of my head tonight and this has been a good vehicle for that in the past. Sometimes it helps to just write them down. For what it's worth, this will likely be 'one of THOSE posts'; rather intensely personal at times, but some things that I need to say, even if only for my own benefit. Read on if you like, or not. I think this one is mainly for me.

In a little more than three months, my son will be 18 and, soon after that, my daughter will be 16. That thought does not make me feel old, like it does some parents, but it does make aware of just how quickly time passes. I was only a full-time father until they were 4 1/2 and 2 1/2 respectively, when their mother decided to stay in Sweden and away from me. There is no point rehashing that time, for it is water long under the bridge, as they say. Today has just been one of those days when I realize just how much of their lives I have missed. When my son was first born, the one thing I wanted more than anything was to be a great dad for him and all our kids. I looked forward to helping with homework, taking them camping, sharing in their triumphs and being there to comfort them when life hit the rocky patches. I have done that the best I could, but we have spent only about a year together total in the last 13. They are both becoming adults and while I am very proud of them both, I mourn for the time I was not there; for all that I have missed.

I like to think I have worked hard to be the best dad I could be under the circumstances, but I know there are things I could have done better. I am certain that every parent feels that way, but I tend to feel it keenly because our time together has been so short. I have been able to share some important things with them, and they have had opportunities that they very likely would have missed if they had stayed here, but I have missed them every day we have been apart, and sometimes that becomes a burden that is very heavy to bear. Today has been one of those days the weight has really worn me down. You would think that because I was able to talk to them today would help make that load lighter, but that has not been the case. They will soon both be pursuing their own lives, and I know that our phone conversations will be less frequent as they find their own ways through life. I still wonder to myself what might have been.

Tomorrow the demands of everyday life will take precedence and I will have to move past what I feel this evening as best I can, but the two of them will never be far from my thoughts; just as they never have been for more than 13 years. I keep up my hopes that we will find a way to get them here this summer, and in many ways live for that precious time together. I miss them dearly, and love them both more than I could ever adequately say. I have tried as best I could; I just pray that they know that and can forgive their dad his many shortcomings.

I also find myself wondering what it is I am supposed to be doing with my life. This could simply be early onset mid-life crisis, but I really wonder. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I woke up this morning with a feeling of worthlessness that was almost overwhelming. It seemed to be the direct result of some rather negative dreams that I have since forgotten, but the feeling remained and that was troubling. I think part of it had to do with the fact that I am working a job I moved on from 12 years ago, so I feel like I have regressed rather than moving forward. I am grateful that I do have a job, but I am doing customer service at 45 when I should be well into a career that has never materialized. I had thought I was finally seeing some success when it disappeared in a single morning. It is something that frustrates me and something I have referred to in the past. I find myself wondering what it is I am supposed to be learning from this experience. Since high school, I have been trying to find that one thing that I was best at; that one talent that would be the source of my livelihood or would bring me a sense of fulfillment. It seems, however, that I am more like the proverbial jack-of-all-trades. There are many things I enjoy, but nothing, it seems, that I am good enough at to really say, "See, this is what I do really, really well. This is my talent." I am sure this has been on my mind so much today because of my mood this morning, but it has been there, in the shadowy recesses, for a long time now.

I should probably leave this post at that. There is more floating around my brain, but I hope that getting this out will be enough. This may end up being one of those posts that disappears after I have had some time to re-read it, or I may leave it here for my own reflection later on; time will tell. I have only deleted two or three posts in the past because they were a bit more than I wanted to make readily available to just anyone. We'll see if this one makes that list. In the meantime, if you have made it this far, thanks for listening. I think I will be able to rest my head tonight a bit easier for having shared these words in this way. As I said earlier, sometimes it helps just to get them out. Here's hoping for a restful night.


Geo said...

Dear Scott,

I hear you. Boy, do I. I hear you about the personal wonderings, and I feel for you about the time "lost" with your babies.

I have also invested a lot of time into questions about what I should be doing with my life, and what I'm going to grow up and "be." It seems like a trial to not have a clear title or a discernible life-job description. I know it sounds schmaltzy, but what I'm coming up with is that what God most wants from each of us is to do our "duty." That sounds so unromantic and at times even robotic, but that's only if you look at the surface of things. I think I'm coming to better terms with what constitutes "duty" and I'm finding there's a great deal of challenge and beauty in it. I think I might be coming slowly to terms with the thought that I may never be able to measure myself the way I wanted to, and I may never make the big and world-changing splash I probably hoped to. And my life may not be a linear progression—not to my understanding—and that might have to be okay. I can't help but think that when the time comes that I can see it from a different and higher perspective, the beauty I sought for my life will be evident to the eye. I believe that's true for us all.

I had a strange feeling on Sunday after a couple days of some troubling listening sessions with a friend who is in a real tailspin right now. You know those guys who are here and there mentioned in the scriptures, who are blessed by the Lord with the wish of their hearts—to stay on earth as immortals, so they can continue their work of bringing people to Christ? I had this weird flash of understanding, because for a few moments I found myself silently asking to stay here indefinitely, trying to love the people around me. It was an odd feeling. I almost always feel inept at loving people in practical ways; I live so much in my head. And yet, suddenly the importance of love filled up my reservoirs, and I wanted, in all my inept non-glory, to stay put permanently and keep trying. It's a frightening and wonderful thought.

Anyway, I don't know why I told you all that, but one thing I do know is that you do and can make a big difference in this world just by loving. If you're like me and your apparent sphere of influence is pretty small, you can still rest assured that you have one. We're here to learn love and gather light and follow truth. And all the titles and jobs and frills and bonuses and popularity and the rest of the temporary stuff is only important in the most fleeting way.

Wish I knew how to really say stuff. But I think you're great. You're a great dad, you're a great husband, you're a great family member, you're a great friend, and you're a great man. And I know I'm not the only one who recognizes it.

Scott said...

Thank you so much, Georgia. I know that taking two weeks to say so may not show how much your words meant to me, but let me reassure you that they did. I appreciate you sharing these thoughts with me very much indeed. They helped me to see a different perspective and I really needed that. I often tend to feel like the one who is overlooked, living in my head (as you put it) myself as much as I do. anyway, I'm not sure what else to say other than thank you.