JUST EXISTING IS NOT LIVING LIFE, IT’S JUST PASSING TIME UNTIL ONE DIES
My 50th birthday is coming up in October. So I’m contemplating what the second part of my life is going look like. I have three different pictures of the direction of my life. The first one is to keep doing what I’m doing now and what I’ve done for the last three years, just staying home and existing. Existing as in not really doing anything important, significant or meaningful. The thought of doing that for another 20 or so years does not seem very appealing. Just existing is not living life, it’s just passing time until one dies.
I’ve thought about selling our house, all our stuff and heading out to the open road with our 5th wheel trailer. Stopping to flip a quarter at every major intersection to determine our direction. We have seriously considered doing this and were pretty close to actually making it happen. The excitement of traveling, going where we want to go and doing whatever we want to do seems very attractive. But eventually the traveling will get old and we would have to ask the question “what we were actually doing with our lives?” Do we really want to spend 20 years or so living in our 5th Wheel? Going place to place without any real purpose or direction? Establishing short-term relationships because we know we were only going to be around for a short period of time. Then head out again and show up somewhere different to start all over again. While on the surface it sounds great, it lacks purpose and significance and in essence is still a form of just existing.
The third choice is to reinvent myself for the second half of my life. Having a direction, a purpose and knowing I’ve accomplished something of significance is very important to me. I don’t want to look back on the second half of my life and say all I did was exist and avoid life. From the time I was young I felt a calling from God to minister to people. To be someone who cares and someone who seeks to meet the needs of people. I am called to a life of service and ministry. I’ve found myself this year dissatisfied with the current course of my life. The last few years were necessary for me to heal. I’ve learned to use the coping skills that are so important in living with PTSD. But It is now time for me to move on and start living life.
So I have decided it is time to go back work. When I started seriously thinking about working again, I thought about getting a part-time job. One that would get me out of the house and hopefully doing something I might enjoy. That seemed appealing until I went for a job interview for a part time job. I was offered the job and was told I could start the next day. But on the way home, I started feeling discouraged and by the time I arrived at the house I was pretty down. I was thinking “is this what I really want to do, have a job that just gets me out of the house?” “Will I be happy with a job that does not even come close to providing me a sense of purpose or accomplishment?”
IT IS TIME I START LIVING MY LIFE DESPITE THE CHALLENGES OF LIVING WITH MY TRAUMA
So I took inventory of my life, my experiences, and my previous jobs. I thought about what jobs provided me with the most purpose and significance. The most fulfilling job I’ve had is pastoring churches or chapels. Pastoring is what I love and it is my calling. Serving others and ministering to needs of others is what brings me the most satisfaction. So I’m going to be true to my calling and lay aside my concerns, fears and questions and seek a pastorate. I am not saying I am cured from my trauma or I no longer have PTSD. I’m saying its time to start living my life despite the challenges of living with my trauma.
So my resume and cover letter are ready; they are updated to reflect what I bring to the table as a civilian minister. The military vocabulary, which carries significance in the Army, does not translate very well to the civilian world. So I am learning to translate my experience and skills to effectively reflect the skills and experience I offer to a civilian church. In essence, I am learning to speak a new langue. I am now ready to set off in a new direction and move forward with the second half of my life.
I would like to thank the Wounded Warrior program for their help and assistance in preparing my resume and cover letter. Without their help, I would be overwhelmed with trying to translate my military chaplain experience and skills.