Sunday, February 03, 2013
After the Introduction to The Unexpected Journey
Many of you have offered "If there's anything I can do..." Well, you can give me your advice.
It's another beautiful sunrise from my deck. But just as the sun rises with the shadow of a Chinook cloud above the mountains, so my view of the rising future also comes shrouded in shadows. Just as the sunrise changes every morning, the circumstances of my life also change. There are times, especially at night, when it feels really dark and even the stars can be obscured by cloud, but I gladly remember that somewhere, the sun is always shining, it's just my perspective that changes. It helps when others can shine a flashlight or light a candle in the dark to help me find my way.
When Brent died, my future was just changed in a way I never anticipated and I entered a period of very little light. Before Dec. 7, my primary role was as a partner and support to my husband in his career as the primary provider. Now, the role of "supportive wife" is gone.
Head of the household. Decisions have to be made. I don't have to consider another person's opinion, but then again, I also don't have another person to consult or to share the blame if it all goes awry. Ha. So how do I look to the future and choose to live intentionally in a contributing way? How do I find my new identity? How do I anticipate problems and plan to avoid pitfalls? How do I set myself up for as much success as possible? Should I even be thinking "success" vs. "process"? What can I really change or control?
Seth Godin talks about envisioning a future without your sacred cows. Go read this blog post, then come back here and give me your ideas.
Based on Seth's blog post, what are my sacred cows? How do I envision a future with or without them? How do I even envision a future when all I can see in the immediate near term is spending every hour catching up on paperwork and trying to clean up the details of my past?
The strongest advice I've been given by those who have been in my place is 1) don't do anything in a hurry or on impulse and 2) don't make any significant changes for at least a year. This seems like good advice, so I can stay in my current job, be a mom who parents from a distance, hang out with some pretty nice people in my church and neighborhood and not change anything for a while.
Maybe that’s an okay idea, but somehow I think that’s a pretty small life. My financial situation is adequate but requires prudence. No lavish lifestyle for me. I have an investment advisor, a tax accountant, a realtor and a lawyer if needed. They provide practical advice, support and guidance in financial and legal matters. My pastor, life coach and psychologist help with the spiritual and emotional side. I guess I'm getting down to the nitty gritty of career and identity, two very big issues. Who am I if I am not a wife? I am still a mother, but my son is a young adult working his way toward becoming self-supporting, so my involvement in his life is changing. Do I plan for early retirement? If so, what do I retire to? If I don't retire early, am I in the best career for the next decade or so? Am I living in the best place? Do I move closer to my son?
I don’t really hear a Clear Calling to anything different yet, no incredible book offers or job offers or speaking engagements, but I would like to envision possible scenarios for my future in the manner Seth Godin suggests. But does imagination help unless it involves decisions I actually have some control over? I hopefully won't approach my future like the widow I heard about who is spent all her time desperately searching online dating sites for her next husband. Not that there's anything wrong with online dating per se, just that you can't make a partner magically appear. It takes two to tango and "desperate" isn't really my style.
I’m having a hard time concentrating on my daily Bible reading. I talk to God all the time, and I hear great truth through many avenues, so for now, I think I am going to just plod along where I am and ask that your prayers for me in the future include the petition that I would clearly sense God’s voice and have my eyes open to whatever contribution I can make right in front of me. And if God wants to change focus and give me some Really Clear Direction, you can let him know I think that would be a mighty fine idea.
What do YOU think might show up as a sacred cow as I consider possible scenarios for my future? Do you have real life examples of helpful things widows/widowers have done and things I Really Should Avoid? If so, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or better yet, post them here in the comments.
Thanks for your love, prayer and support,