The past two years have wrought a major transformation in my life: getting divorced after 26 years & 2 kids is no easy thing to experience. Finally, after 18 long, arduous months of hard feelings & stalled negotiations, the Judge signed the final divorce papers, & I proceeded to build my new life out of the remnants of my old one. Well meaning & loving friends tell me that now, finally, this is “My Time.” A period in my life where I can focus on myself & my own well being, instead of that of others, which is basically what I have spent my entire life doing.
But even as I was beginning to attempt to get settled into my new place (which still has unpacked boxes four months later), I would get calls & messages from friends & family members that needed me. A shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, or someone to pray with them – as always, I felt compelled to comply, & honored for the privilege of praying for my friends. Due to personal illness, a changing marketplace where my job is concerned, all of the million little things associated with finalizing a divorce, moving from my home, my volunteer work, & the holidays all hitting at one time, I felt quite overwhelmed on more than one occasion. Many times I would ask, to no one in particular, “When does it REALLY get to be ‘My Time’?”
When does MY life start to be about ME, Lord? Over the past couple of years, I have been fortunate enough to have MANY loving & caring people minister to me, care for me, & pray with & for me as I navigated my way through the scary, challenging, & tumultuous waters of re-inventing my life. This is something that I never would have allowed in previous stages of my life. By allowing other people to see my weaknesses & to know my vulnerabilities, I learned to trust in ways that I never had before. Yes, I got burned a couple of times in the process by narcissistic, self-centered people who betrayed that trust. But overall, it was a cathartic process, admitting my own weakness, & accepting help was something I was unaccustomed to doing.
Slowly, I allowed conversations to be about the less than positive things that were happening in my life, not realizing how that act was opening me up to being more accessible to those that were around me. Gradually, I let people into my inner psyche, & I was amazed to find that many had experienced, or were experiencing similar feelings & frustrations out of life. God opened my eyes to my own humanity, but more so, I began to understand how very much I needed Him. I have ALWAYS, since I was a child, loved & turned to God, but it was only in the past two years that i truly learned what “stepping out in faith” was all about. That first step is always the hardest, you know.
As I learned to walk again, independent of a spouse, I expectantly waited to begin “My Time.” I started to reflect & wonder what that would really entail? A time when my life centered around me? A time when my voice was heard? (Those that know me will laugh at that thought – I’ve always been quite verbal, & have had no problem speaking up for a variety of causes over the years.) A time when I would focus on myself, my needs, wants, wishes & desires? A time when other people’s problems would fade into the background of my life? A time when I would finally find the “perfect man” for which I’d been “searching” & making humorous posts about on Facebook? A time when I would live the life of Riley? A time when I would be June Cleaver? WHAT EXACTLY DID THAT EVEN MEAN, that it was “finally My Time”???
I have prayed about this quite a lot recently. I do not know if I will get an “A” on the final exam in this class, but here are my answers to those questions: “My Time” has been, is & will be any & every day that I have been blessed with as a gift to live on this earth. Every day of my past that I have lived has been “My Time.” Every single day, whether it has been blessed with joy & laughter, or blessed (yes, I mean BLESSED) with sorrow & tears, has been a time that I have been gifted to learn life’s lessons here on this earth. Every breath I take, every choice that I make, every emotion that I feel, every person I pray for, every charity I donate time or money to, every problem I solve, every issue I encounter, every person I love, every individual that gives me grief, every laugh that I enjoy, every tear that I taste, every soul I minister to, every hug I share, every kiss I kiss, every ounce of love I put forth, every little thing in my life makes up a tiny portion of “My Time.”
If I am called to stretch forth my hands & embrace dozens of people in one year to share the love of God with them in some small way, that is a part of my purpose & time here on earth. If I am called to spend hours of my precious life standing vigil over loved ones, praying for their issues, or teaching them a few of the things I’ve learned along my path, then that is a part of what I am here to do. If I am fortunate enough to be able to make someone think, laugh, smile, or cry, that is a part of the bigger scheme of my life. If I am lucky enough to be blessed with someone to hold my hand, comfort me, kiss me & love me, that is also a part of the time I am supposed to live. In other words, it is ALL part of “My Time” – the good, the bad, the lovely & the ugly things in my life all combine into what will eventually be the story of my life.
So when do I get to have fun, do the things I’ve been wanting to do, but have been postponing, explore hobbies, experience dreams?? Well, you know what they say? “There’s no time like the present.” In reality, we have no time except the here & now, which is TODAY. This is “My Time.” It is also YOUR TIME. Whether you have been called to help someone else out, or to allow someone to minister to you this day, it is every single bit of it a part of your time here.
Just because we get called to raise kids, care for aging parents, build a career, or get married, that does not mean that we have to sacrifice ourselves in the process. If we take time to do things that bring us joy, that keep us healthy, that make us stronger, that show us a little pleasure in an otherwise cruel, hard, toxic world, that does not mean that we cannot also fulfill our responsibilities, share with others, & do what is expected. It means that we must strive to find the balance that will fully enable us to make the best use of, learn the most from, & feel the most fulfilled from our time.
I’ve stopped wondering when that time will arrive. I’m going to stop watching the clock in anticipation of its arrival, for I know that it is already here. It is indeed now “My Time.” I pray that I will use it wisely. May you do the same with yours. Seize the opportunities that present themselves. Minister to those who cross your path. Take that chance which might be the one that makes all the difference. Enjoy the love you find coming your way. Give more than you receive. For it is in taking chances, experiencing life’s opportunities, helping others & giving & receiving love that you will experience the time of your life! I am looking forward to all of the rest of the moments in “My Time”!!!