I am not dead, depressed, or otherwise wasted away in depths of despair. Actually, I've been wallowing in a time of re-prioritization and discernment. I've been enjoying some major changes made to our life this past spring.
Last summer I made a career move from the pastoral area of stewardship to the pastoral area of faith formation. While I love planning and teaching, I did not much enjoy the drama and grind of that type of position. Students are tired, parents are unkind and demanding, and quite frankly nights and weekends were doing permanent damage to my children. "Bye mama, daddy's staying home so you go to a meeting," on nights when I didn't have one scheduled was way too tough. We spent late nights and weekends recovering from our weeks and my husband, supportive and loving as he was, was being worn down by all the time we spent apart and caring for children alone.
After lots of tears and struggles, bouts with depression, and parish politics, we decided that I needed to watch for a new position. Lo and behold, the perfect position popped up quite out of the blue. 3 days a week I work as a communications secretary for another local parish. Plenty of time for family, diocesan work and writing without the drama of nights, weekends, or parents.
The transformation has been incredible and affirming. My children are better behaved, my patience a bit thicker, and my marriage has never been better. My house stays cleaner, I feel no guilt about stopping mid-task to read books to my snuggly little Sappa, and even my waistline seems to have halted its outward march. Last night, for the first time in a long time I joined a friend for a drink downtown after 7pm! Whoo-hoo!
I've found myself not only more attentive to the needs and persons of my friends and family, but more responsive and more generous. I've been able to put a more positive spin on life in general and helped my family to do the same.
I work a few less hours, took a paycut, and now pay my nanny more, but I wouldn't change any of it to protect what I've rediscovered. I truly feel the balance is back in my vocations. I know not everyone is able to make this kind of change, but I am blessed that my husband and I were able to trust my gut (although reluctantly at times) and see this new phase of our life through.
It's not easy to make the right choice. There are moments when I wonder about my potential, my career, my achievement. There are moments when I think, "Really? 16 years of schooling for this?" and then I remember that no corporate or pastoral achievement can be compared to the responsibility of caring for the souls entrusted to our parental care. No planning meeting compares to a meaningful discussion about heaven with a 3-year-old. Both important, but in this season of my life, God has called me to join him on the lakeshore next to a curious little boy and a dead fish.
The day will come when they won't need me as much. The day will come when God will call me to serve his church in a deeper capacity again. By that time, I will have gained the wisdom of parenthood and the understanding and compassion of married life. I will be that much more equipped to serve God's people on their journeys. I'm not losing anything by stepping back for a few years. I am gaining those foundational years with my little ones and my husband. I have been gifted by God with time to shore up our foundation and build a house on rock with Him.
Build a house of God's love around your children and they will become shelters of God's love for the world.
Here are just a few photos from our very blessed summer so far.
|The Men in My Life: Dad, Grandpa, Hubby|
|Me and the Hubby Relaxing at the Lake|
|My Little Fish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!|
|The Man of Our Dreams out for Pizza|