I have had a few days of good socializing.  Friday evening our friends came to supper.  Last minute plans.  Saturday, I spent the day with our daughter at the Renaissance Festival.  Sunday at church, then a long lunch with my brother and sister-in-love at their granddaughter’s birthday party.  My nieces and nephews were there, too, of course.  Had a little bit of visiting and hugging time.

Today, my friend came to work on a project she has going.  She brought her computer so she could work, too.  Fortunately, her battery was low and she forgot her charger.  We were able to spend several hours talking about all sorts of things.  We always find ourselves in such similar situations or frames of mind.  We are the same age.  We have husbands of similar dispositions.  Our children are grown and gone from home.  She is semi-retired. I am basically retired with my little part time position to keep up with. 

We are working on the challenges and uncharted territory of our aging process.  Neither of us are terribly worried about anything other than the loss of energy and stamina.  Of course, we want to look good, but that is secondary.  The changing thought processes, the thermostat issues, the loss of energy and the need for a creative outlet are common issues.

No doubt ours is the story of so many of our peers.  I have been trying to find information for this stage.  There is plenty of information in our faces about the 20- and 30-year-old groups finishing college, launching careers, families, home building.  And the seniors fully retired, traveling, hobbies, dealing with their own set of challenges along with their adult children adjusting to the roles of care givers.  I don’t see much for our life stage.  I guess we are supposed to be having mid-life crises? Those have been made in to jokes and the underlying needs not truly addressed in my preliminary research.  If I wanted to have another career or go to college, sure, but not much for the settling in to our type of lifestyle.

My friend and her husband have one parent living.  She is in a long-term facility and in good health overall, but unable to live alone.  They don’t have grands, yet.  My husband and I have no living parents or grandparents.  We have our two little duchesses who come to visit and bring exuberance to our lives.

I find myself too isolated most of the time.  Even when I am at church, I don’t have a lot of adult time.  When he comes home, we have supper and he needs time to take care of a few chores and time to relax and rest.  I recall a time when my grandmother was isolated.  She seemed to have trouble putting sentences together when I would go see her.  It got better when she got around others and regained her socialization time.  These past few days, I have talked more than usual.  Today, I particularly noticed my voice getting tired from the several hours of conversation. 

Social creatures.  Even those of us who are introverted and enjoy long stretches of time alone need socialization. Time with folks whose company we enjoy to just let conversation flow and thoughts meander.  Today, we laughed at ourselves chasing squirrels in our topics.  We would start someplace and take a few detours before trying to finish the original topic.  I am sure we didn’t finish half of our trains of talk.  And that is just fine.  I am feeling very content after having a chance to hear my own thoughts out loud and echoed back to me with agreement, understanding, questions to help clarify.  New insights brought forth, clarity of ideas emerging.  Laughing and groaning at how human we are. 

I am so very grateful for my friends, for my children, for my family, for my Rock and for our Lord who brings us together.

Fall flowers in Tyler County, Texas.

My Beast

A lot of men think they are tough.  They think they can handle anything life throws at them with a wave of their hand.  When things do get tough, they back off.  They hide behind the guise of being civilized or well-mannered.  Most hide behind fear of repercussions.  Some hide behind a wife, letting her muddle through and then they can sit back and believe they could have done it better if she hadn’t interfered. 

I know a man who is tough.  He is Rambo with a machine gun slung over his shoulder with barrel blasting tough.  He is the beast in the front of the pack when it is time to kill.  He has a throwback hardness to him that harkens to the days of hand-to-hand combat with swords and knives, Braveheart fashion.  If he believes you are loyal to him, he will do battle with Hell for you.  No dragon is too fierce for him to face.  If he senses a lack of loyalty, he will throw you to the dogs.  With no remorse. 

His is the type of man who caught hold of the first ship heading west to new unknown lands.  The same type who forged through the swamps of the coast, the forests further inland and the mountains and plains that lay beyond.  Seeking a place without class restrictions, without societal rules.  His type herded cattle up dusty death filled trails.  A payday and a good meal his reward.  To have gotten the job done, his reward.  To have survived when others fell, his reward.  He binds his wounds with his own will to move forward.  He has no back down in him.  He raised children with no back down in them. 

He has a temper and sometimes a short fuse.  He has no patience and no desire to develop any.  He yields only when he chooses.  His is an iron will.  Webster’s has his picture next to “stubborn”.  He has on more than one occasion told me “They can’t eat me.”  He respects inner strength and power.  He expects people to show up and to do what needs doing.  He rubs people the wrong way because he calls them out on their façade.  He is not impressed with wealth or social position or education or political power. He guards himself and his small tribe closely and fiercely. Tread near with caution.

There is another side to him.  He loves Jesus.  He loves his children and their children. In fact, all children love him.  Baby whisperer, I call him.  Babies and children love him at first site.  He says it is because they have the same priorities.  Eat, play, sleep.  That is true.  If he sees someone in trouble, he reaches out to help.  He can’t stand to see vulnerable people be left to the wolves. 

He isn’t sentimental or romantic.  Not for him moonlit strolls on the beach or candlelit dinners at some special place.  The first has mosquitoes and the second is just plain silly to him.  He wants to see his food when he eats. He did allow our children to subject him to a vow renewal for our 30th anniversary seven years ago. He would never be mistaken for a gentleman.  He is out spoken and tough. Yet, I do have a collection of love letters and jewelry and a jeep among other things.

Despite his own personal tragedies, he lives life full throttle.  He expects everyone to do the same.  His world is clear cut and black and white.  No gray areas.  He is rock solid.  He is the man God gave me.  He relies on the Solid Rock and I rely on my Rock.  If a dragon comes my way, he is the one who kills it.  He is not afraid to do what real beasts do.  If he even thinks someone is messing with his children, he loads up for warfare.  He will charge the gates of Hell to protect them.  Anyone who causes them distress is at risk of his charge. 

When I am faced with tragedy and heartbreak, he stands in the gap between me and engulfing despair.  He puts me in check with his immovable stand of faith.  Yes, he experiences concern over situations; he flips a switch and it goes right up in the flames of faith filled prayer.  I would have completely destroyed myself by now without him.  Others laugh and wonder how I “put up” with him.  I don’t know how he “puts up” with me.  He makes me want to be stronger, tougher, braver.  He makes me want to live life full throttle. To laugh at the dragons and wave them off with my hand.  To send fear up in the flames of faith filled prayer.  Until that time comes, I will lean on him for protection, for courage, for intercession. 

He is a beast.  He is a warrior.  He is a battle-scarred man who loves God.  He is tough, hard and full of love.  I am so blessed to call him mine.  And so blessed to be his.

God Gave Me You