“The gods have two ways of dealing harshly with us, the first is to deny us our dreams and the second is to grant them.” Oscar Wilde
What do you do when you have everything you dreamed of and it’s not enough?
All of my adult life I dreamed of someday having the time and money to write. I’ve been writing in some shape or form all of my life but it has been squeezed in here and there during random moments of free time. When others would have been socializing, going on vacation, cleaning their homes, organizing closets or whatever normal people do, I would be writing.
Now through a series of circumstances and job losses, I find myself in the position to write on a full-time basis if I chose. The end of my ministry at my church made me eligible for a small pension, not enough to live on by myself, but now that I am married and have health insurance through my husband, a second income and one household to support, it is enough that I don’t have to work, at least not now.
I even remember thinking years before I met my husband that if I ever were to marry again, I would want to be in a position to write all day. That way, after a day of solitude, I would be ready to socialize when my husband came home rather than being drained from a day of ministry. Somehow God pulled strings and arranged for all of this to happen, but now what?
It has been a dizzying six months as I’ve moved into semi-retirement, married, sold my house and moved. After a fun-filled November writing a novel in one month, the craziness of the holidays and being sick from Christmas to New Years, I’m still adjusting to what it means to finally have time to write. Is it any wonder I’ve been in a slump?
I miss ministry, miss being forced by my position to wrestle with Scripture in order to find meaningful ways to celebrate the holidays and new ways to preach God’s word. I find I have lost the sense of meaning and purpose ministry gave to my life. Me, who preached countless times and told numerous individuals that our identity, our meaning and purpose in life, came from being children of God not what we do, here I was feeling bereft of meaning and purpose.
It occurred to me that the answer wasn’t to replace ministry with writing. Rather, it was to allow myself to feel rootless for a while, allow myself to be unproductive in order to accept that I had meaning and purpose just because I was a child of God, loved incredibly by the God who created me. That provides all the meaning and purpose necessary for one life.
I do intend to continue writing, but not because my sense of identity and meaning and purpose is dependent on it, but because it is something I like to do. I may go back into ministry at some time, but hopefully I won’t let that be my total source of meaning and purpose.
So what do you do when you have everything you ever dreamed of and it is not enough? For me, I look to my God. There I find enough.
Have any of you had similar experiences? If so, I would love to hear from you.
Robertson, copyright 1/2014