I hear that as one grow older, different common stages come into play both in your life and the lives around you. As a child, we had our "play" and "sports" stage. In middle school there was the "everybody's parents are getting divorced" stage, but nobody knew why, only that it hurt. In college it was the "experimentation and find yourself" stage where we tried new things that we could chalk up to our "crazy college years." Afterwards, it was the "time to grow up" stage where we got our first apartments, realize we had it good in high school with zero financial responsibility, suck it up and pay our bills while still finding time to do some more mature exploring of the world and ourselves. At this juncture, people split into a few categories. Some got married, some pursued careers, some traveled the world, some focused on relationships, some had babies. But at some point those stages ended up circling back and possibly ended for some while the rest may have embraced the continuation of others.
The stage I am now learning about is the one as I'm in my early 30's where more people are getting married, and many are having children. Careers are taking off, we're starting to take care of some of our grandparents or parents and it's the new "20" according to many theorists. Here's the thing though, there is also a growing undercurrent of adultery, pain, drug abuse and self-rediscovery amongst the people I know. It's freaky as heck. I had personal experience as a pre-teen with my own parents going through some of this, but I never understood why or how it could happen. And now, those I love are even speaking of such horrors, and after being married I see their point. I don't agree with them, nor would I ever because it breaks a commitment deeper than any other that we can, in our flesh, agree to, but...man, oh man, this is tough!
I guess I'm learning that through all these seasons, people aren't superhuman after all. We laugh, we cry but we still live. We need to be needed and we need to be left alone. Those two needs drive many of our decisions throughout life, and it's amazing how those two needs can be the catalyst for a destructive path of decisions that will obliterate those in its wake.
So what are we left to do? Pray with everything you've got. It is now a season for prayer, and if you haven't started, it's a good time to begin. I don't give a flyin' flip if you believe in God or not, He hears you anyway, and our souls are not meant to cut through life alone without divine comfort and direction. Prayer might seem like a cop-out for those of you who are angry and hurting, but I will say this: When you pray for others, you take your eyes off yourself and your investment grows from being self-focused to a heart of compassion for those around you. If you're not hurting and still feel like prayer is a cop-out, do it anyway.
Now, for those of you who are momentarily freaking out and wondering about Chad and myself, we are very much okay. Sure, we've gone through our own trials, but we manage to come out together on top every time. And that's the trick I hear- never give up on coming on top together. We have a tightly knit healthy community that surrounds us, and who are committed to walking through our marriage with us - we're not naive enough to think we can "do" marriage alone!
With all that said and done, I feel like my heart is slightly tearing apart with the sadness I feel for others. God, I pray that your Spirit will go into the hearts of any who are affected by this new stage. Lord, bring your light and illuminate it all so that all may see, heed, and get out of those prisons or help others to get out of theirs. In Jesus' name, Amen.