While it seems there is finally plenty of time for things like needlecrafts, Bible study, helping and serving others, even working part time... it's also true that there still isn't enough time in each day to accomplish all one wants to accomplish. Added to that, with more freedom of time and things to choose from, and having way less time ahead of me than behind, it somehow seems more important that I get this right. All the while time slips away faster and faster and a sense of desperation in finding my purpose in life has begun dogging at my heels.
And then I'm reminded... There is no need to feel desperate about any of this. My time was never truly my own. My life is not meant to be lived only for myself. And none of us knows if we even have tomorrow. My purpose is tied directly to who I am, not necessarily what I do (though, certainly those two things are connected). As a child of God, redeemed by Christ, helped by the Holy Spirit, my purpose is lived out in the everyday, sometimes mundane activities of life. A life lived imperfectly. In regular need of forgiveness. Growing more and more aware of the changing nature of this fleeting life, and thankful for the steadfast and redeeming nature of my Heavenly Father.
Roles and life's activities are always shifting, it seems, and after a couple of years into my "retirement" I found myself in roles I never quite envisioned.
Over the last year and a half I've enjoyed being a English language partner (or ESL tutor) to non-native-English speakers. It's a joy to become friends with women from other countries and be a soft place in a strange land to them. In turn, I am overwhelmed by their seeming gratitude for simple things like kindness and a genuine welcome. And yet, it's not surprising. These are among the most treasured things for us all as we travel through life.
But the most profound thing I've become involved in in recent years is being an on-call companion care giver for a lovely elderly woman who has dementia. When I was first asked to consider doing this (for the regular care-giver who was going on a vacation) I honesty did not believe I was cut out for this type of work. What does one do all day? What is the level of dementia? Does this woman feel comfortable with a stranger coming into her home? Goodness, how hot is the house kept? Okay, the honest truth is that was probably the first question that came to mind...
I asked these and other questions for an hour - which, looking back, I can see that I must have been just a little intrigued. I mean... I could have just said "No, thank you" and that be the end of it. Even so, I felt a little apprehensive and resigned when I agreed to help out for two weeks, sure that I'd prove once and for all that I am not cut out for this kind of work.
Well, no one more surprised than me to find that not only did I fall in love with the woman I was keeping company with, but when the two weeks were up I hoped that I might have opportunities to come back. In fact, I was making plans for coming back just as a visitor - I enjoyed her so much.
Not only was I called back to work, but I was fitted into the schedule in a way that didn't take work away from the normal caretaker. I became the permanent sub and over two years later I still enjoy this role. It is a perfect arrangement.
Oh, the things I began to learn about this precious lady and the subject of dementia. And the things I began learning about life, and life's purpose.
While care giving actually takes a small portion of my time (most weeks), this job (for this particular woman) has been a true gift in my life during this season. I don't write about it much here because I want to protect the privacy of the one I've been entrusted care of. But with permission of her husband I've occasionally shared some pictures and stories and examples of things we do together.
And likewise, I'd like to share more about ESL tutoring, and the women I get to know doing that, but that feels like it could potentially invade the privacy of those women as well. I share when I can, and when it's appropriate, but mostly these are experiences that are treasured deeply in the heart while only shared in a surface way here.
So that leaves other things I enjoy doing with my time:
Embroidery & Cross stitch
Finding time for relationship building with friends
Engaging with adult sons when they'll fit me in.
and what should be most important:
Bible study, prayer, and growing in my faith. This summer (2019), with some girlfriends, I'm going through the study, Daniel by Beth Moore. Exciting stuff!
Speaking of church... I also am on the sound tech team at church where I enjoy running the sound board at least once or twice a month. Over fifteen years ago, at another church we were attending at the time (and sadly, no longer exists), at the ripe old age of 45 I responded to a "call out" of sorts for volunteers who would be interested in learning to run the sound board. It wasn't the first time I'd considered doing this, but for some reason this time felt like it was now or never. So I jumped on it and found myself being trained by a very kind and patient (also middle-aged) man who encouraged me endlessly. I only wished I hadn't waited 'till middle age to learn to do this. It seems, though, that I've been a late bloomer all my life.
What is quietly and continuously going on in the background of my life:
Downsizing! It's past time for us to move from this split-level house (that's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside) into something more convenient, and the hard work of downsizing a lifetime of belongings can be overwhelming to say the least, but it is necessary and happening without a lot of fanfare. Sometimes I post about it, though.
Mostly (at this time) this blog about the fun, creative things I get to do now - mostly crochet, cross stitch, embroidery, a little knitting... It's a space for me to write, share what I'm creating, and share a little bit of my life with like-minded others. And just like life, it's always subject to change here.
Updated October, 2019