Life’s seasons – we get so little control over them.
Here on the Northern Plains we are griping about a quick transition from too-cold winter to too-hot summer. We had a disaster-level ice storm in April; now we’re getting muggy tornado weather pushing into the 90s for May.
Then there’s our city joke: “We only have two seasons. Winter and construction.” Now that the snow’s gone the orange cones and barrels are up all over town. Traffic is clogged and every Monday morning can be an unwelcome adventure as we try to find some new way to work, school or wherever we’re headed.
Some good advice that some wise person gave me years ago (and why is it that the wise people in our lives are easier to forget than the jerks?),
“Accept doing for a season what you would not want to do for a lifetime.”
Care giving is a long season. But it is not forever. It might feel that way, but it evolves or ends.
I guess I’m feeling chipper because one seasonal stretch in my life is about over. For the last seven years, I’ve been working second jobs, mainly to provide health coverage for my family. My primary work – my “vocation” (calling) – is leading a church here in town. But the health premiums of our church plan went out of sight. So, hyper-responsible neurotic care giver that I am, I found a second, p/t job with health coverage. Pretty much all of my wages went to the insurance premium, but it’s been good coverage for our family and saved the church tens-of-thousands of bucks.
This never was ideal. I went through seasons within the season. Exhaustion. Feelings of failure and of being trapped. The pity party of feeling overworked and under-appreciated. It put strain on our family, on my church and dang sure on me.
Now, our little church has grown to the point that they are ready to provide a decent health plan. It’s kind of a crazy quilt, involving Melissa’s and Joey’s existing benefits, a single plan for me and some supplemental stuff. But it works and June 28 will be my last day on the second job.
What season are you in right now? Keep in mind that it’s only a season. The good times will run into challenges and the challenges will end or at least be tempered.
And don’t weather it alone. As a Christian, this season taught me way more about the love I thought I knew. About a God so intent on setting us free from oppressive seasons that He suffered a miserable, unfair season himself. In the words of a hymn, based on a New Testament passage,
Humbled for a season
To receive a name
From the lips of sinners
Unto whom he came,
Faithfully he bore it
Spotless to the last,
Brought it back victorious,
When from death he passed.
There’s a God who shared the grind of our seasons so that we could inherit unending joy. May he come and guide you toward freedom as you pass through care giving’s seasons.