Don’t give up now. I am speaking directly to my mid-life peers in particular. Don’t give up now. I don’t like to admit it, but I am rapidly approaching the five “0” mark. In many ways, I still feel like I am 18. Jan would tell you that I still act like I am 18. But that is another story for another day.
Last July I had the remarkable honor of reuniting with old friends from Monterey High School in Lubbock and forging new friendships with people I barely knew in our class of 630 people. I learned that we all have one important thing in common. Life has not been uncomplicated or painless. We have faced family issues, serious illness, the death of loved ones, job losses, and the list goes on. The illusions are gone. Reality is our friend and we know it.
It is tempting to give up at this stage in life. Life is just hard and it does not look like it is going to get any easier. Slipping quietly off to an island of emotional survival looks tempting. Getting up every morning and going through the motions has its appeal. Our heartfelt dreams can vanish into thin air before we notice their absence. Therefore I will say it again. Don’t give up now. If you are losing your footing, grab something sturdy. The journey that leads to the fulfillment of your dreams is well worth pursuing, even when it appears hopelessly treacherous.
When I finished my BA degree in 1984, I had three great academic and career options laid before me. I was more fortunate than most and I know that now. It was actually pretty miraculous. I ended my senior year in high school by being kicked off the debate team and graduating early because of discipline issues. Who would have thought in 1980 that one of the options before me 4 years later was to pursue a career in ministry? (I would have laughed really loud!)
In recent years, I have second guessed that dream. I have wondered repeatedly if I should have done something else for the past 26 years. It appears that some of the very dreams that propelled me toward ministry will never be fulfilled. The role and the expectations that accompany such a calling continue to change at a rapid fire pace. And to top it off, some of sharpest and most capable colleagues are bailing out of the ship to pursue other career options. They are frustrated and discouraged. I have wanted to give up myself! I think I have moved beyond that point. I have learned a few things in the process.
Don’t give up now. It is the wrong choice. That is the message I would direct to my peers who are approaching the five “0” mark with me. I would urge all of us to go back to basics. What drew you to the particular dreams you have had for your life for decades? Are such dreams and the motivations behind them still legitimate and good? If they are, then there is no reason to retreat to an island that is void of the most important values of your life.
It occurred to me this morning that I need to return to the basics. What prompted me to get into this situation in the first place? I need to do the very things that drove my dreams years ago today. I need to get back to the basics of the basics so to speak! What propelled you to formulate your important life goals? I would urge a return to those values and thoughts.
Ok…I confess. I stopped blogging and started preaching. But I am unashamed because I don’t want my friends to give up now! Journeying back to our roots to rediscover old friends is great! But I would add that going back to reunite with our original life dreams has the potential to reinvigorate us and provide freshness for the journey. A reunion with our dreams sounds really exciting! Together we can make a difference. Just don’t give up now.