My husband is going through a mid-life crisis. As conflicts go, this one isn’t devastating at this point. He isn’t cheating. He didn’t spend our savings on a new Mustang or get his ear pierced. He doesn’t troll bars looking to extend his youth with youthful women. But I can see that he is sad, and that is almost worse to me. How do you show your beloved that he has lived a life worth living? That it isn’t over yet. There is so much more to come.
As with everything in my life, I tend to try to fix stuff. When my kids would come to me with problems, my first
knee-jerk reaction was to alleviate the problem. But instinctively I knew that I would be raising weak individuals if I gave into this reaction. I don’t mind fixing all my family’s problems when I can. But there are just some things I can’t fix, and this is one of them. Helpless isn’t a feeling I enjoy. In fact, I really hate it. When my son was 12, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Manageable, but no cure. I thought my head was going to explode. And unlike some of my fellow Christians, I know Jesus doesn’t say yes to healing every time we ask. Oh, we continue to pray, but both Dj and I agree, Jesus is allowing this for a reason. And that reason will be used to glorify His Name. That’s good enough for us.
Now, I find myself in a similar position with my husband and his sadness over not accomplishing all that he had thought he would. And I know that my natural reaction to be primarily focused on how his problems affect me is selfish and destructive. Instead, I have to be quiet sometimes. I have to empathize as best I can, and treat his feelings about this with care and gentleness, despite what his moods and behaviors make me feel like. I have to acknowledge that his pain is real, even if I don’t really understand it.
This morning, after he headed off to work at 4 am, I changed my prayer to Jesus. It wasn’t about me at all. It was only a human girl asking Jesus to help someone I love more than myself that I’m simply helpless to help. And I felt a difference today. I’ve accepted that I am not going to talk him into feeling anything but what he is feeling. And Jesus does His absolute best work when we are at our weakest.
Today, I am going to remember that people aren’t always happening to me. Sometimes I am happening to other people. And then again, sometimes it has really nothing to do with me at all.