I’m not there yet, but I have mellowed out tremendously.
I wonder why?
Well, I couldn’t have been wound much tighter.
Mostly, I mellowed out because I had no choice. Things happened, unexpected, unwanted things.
Different kinds of people came into my life that I hadn’t had to deal with before, I had to learn to accept them and love them.
Things happened in my family. All parents of adult children can read between the lines here. Kids surprise you in good ways, and ways that don’t seem so good, but can wind up being very good when we as parents learn to put the ideas of love and acceptance into practice.
Dreams get dashed again and again.
People disappoint us so many times, that we become cynical.
We get some hard miles on our odometer of life.
If my own personality disorder, and my life-consuming vocation weren’t enough, I had these “surprises” to deal with.
Candidly, it was painfully difficult for me to come down from the high I received from being the “go to guy,” as a pastor, to being a regular Joe. It was hard for me to adjust to a phone that didn’t ring, when it used to ring all the time. I complained about the incessant intrusions, but, make no mistake, I loved it. It proved to me that I was needed, I mattered, I was important.
I felt like I was on a fast moving train that came to a screeching halt that sent everything that wasn’t tied down flying, hitting me in the back of the head. I was jittery and angry. Things were yanked out from under me. I didn’t know what to do, or even, who I was. A bunch of unwanted things happened together, the collapse of a church, the death of my two best friends, the loss of my employment (and identity.) I was in shock. Hurt. Angry. Lost.
I lost a vocation, and eventually a relationship with the church, that gave me a method to express my faith, my gifts, and my personality. Basically, it involved a service, a class, a group, or a program to do anything. So, learning how to express my faith without any of that was a whole new ballgame for me.
Slowly, I learned I did not need the structure of a church program to do something Jesus-like. I just needed to be aware of the opportunities around me, as they unfolded.
I can talk to my neighbor, and give him my full attention because I am not on the way to a church meeting. Finally, chatting with him is more important than mowing my yard.
I can worship God in nature, or in a crowd of people at a secular event, because I am not tied to a 10:30am Sunday event at a church building.
I can be inspired by secular art, music, and literature, because it really is all sacred.
As a child of God, redeemed by Christ, I really ought to be the happiest, most relaxed, totally “present in the moment” person on earth.
I have to remind myself of these things all of the time, but it is getting better.