And How Does That Make You Feel?

Writing is my therapy. So, as I kick back on the couch, would you mind asking me “And how does that make you feel?” every once and a while?

I appreciate it.

I get anxious sometimes, even depressed. I have some good runs, some  for weeks, sometimes months. Other times, I struggle to face another day. Sometimes, I take medication, which usually seems to help. Other times, I don’t need it. You would probably never know this about unless I told you because it is all internalized. I suppose all this is fairly common.

The other day I was having a conversation with myself. (Only crazy people don’t talk to themselves.) I thought, “Is there something weighing me down?”

I came to the conclusion, there was.

It was loss. I have a lost a lot. Again, I am not special, you probably have lost a too, maybe a lot more than me. But it was a new revelation at the time.

I lost my identity when I was no longer involved in church work as a pastor. It is the hardest thing I have ever dealt with and took me several years to process. I was simply so wrapped up in my vocation and calling that it became my entire identity.

I couldn’t find a new one for the longest time. I am not a person who easily re-invents myself. I couldn’t find anything that brought as much meaning to my life as what I used to do. Everything else seemed perfunctory, like the real me was being wasted. Finally, I am considering this loss “water under bridge”.

Three years ago, my Dad died and my Mom passed away two days before Christmas last year. Like most parents they had their good and their not-so-good traits, like a sign in our kitchen says, they were “Sweet and Salty.”

My Dad’s obsessive-compulsive disorder became so severe, it was impossible to please him in his last days. His last words to me were, “Glenn, get on over here! Are you going to fix this or not?” Actually, kind of brings a smile to face.

Mom and I talked a lot in the last several years, mostly on the phone since we lived almost 600 miles apart. I was about the only one she had to talk to honestly, and at length. I guess she was kind of that for me too. She was mostly tender, but could be a real pill. I really miss her. I am glad we had those hours together during our last visit and all of those hours on the phone.

When our parents pass away, we become the ones at the top of the ladder, the head of the clan, the old folks in the family. I don’t mind that. But it also reminds us of our limited days ahead. 

Every little change in my body, even if it is temporary brings the “and so this is how it begins” thoughts to mind. I guess I am a little bit of a humorous hypochondriac. 

We certainly are not crazy kids we once were, but I hope we have become defiant senior baby-boomer rockers trying to leave good memories behind for our adult children and exceptional grandchildren. That’s something to really enjoy!

We all have losses. They have to be grieved so we can move on. 

About Glenn

Glenn Hager is a blogger, former newspaper columnist, and author of two books, An Irreligious Faith and Free Range Faith.
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