The Room of the Last Season

Tick – tock, tick – tock —  entering the door marked 2014. For me, this is also the door into life’s last season. Of course, these seasons have no official dates and actual doors, but the number 60 rings of older age to anyone looking up to it.

I remember when my dad was in his 70s, doing yard work and handy man jobs for a lady in her 90s. She called him “young man,” which pleased him very much. However, he was retired, receiving social security and taking two naps a day! He was in his golden years. His golden years were pretty golden, largely because he was a positive person, expecting good things. I remember Dad saying not long before he died (at nearly age 86), “I’m just a happy boy!”  Why was he a happy boy? Was it easy to be happy?  Why do I have to work so hard at it? Why do I and others feel a sense of disorientation or disequilibrium?

Looking back over 59 years, I observe other periods of disequilibrium, especially when transitioning from one phase or season to another. I doubt that I ever pounded on the next season’s door; I enjoyed the room I was in. This is because by nature I’m a slow learner: give me more time! And I’m a “savorer” —  the dreamy eyed kind who wants to gawk and gaze and then share it with everyone else with exclamations and descriptions! Let’s savor it!

Mom said I was 16 months old before I walked. She said I was contented just to play with whatever she put in front of me. My sister, on the other hand, was always in the fast lane (to change metaphors) — climbing out of bed, running ahead, wanting to get there. I held Mom’s hand as we walked down Main Street on a shopping trip. No rush. I doubt my big sis ever stopped enough to sense any disequilibrium.

The doors swinging in to kindergarten, high school, college, the work world and adulthood, marriage and parenthood all introduce rooms with their own opportunities. Yet, they lack a quality palpable in the air of the room of the last season.  All the previous seasons looked forward to the attainment of hopes and dreams, leaving room for some dreams to be fulfilled in yet another room, another season. While this quality of hope is also in the room of the golden age, the difference is that much opportunity is now spent, leaving only this room to complete aims for this life.

Of course, one has known this as a concept, but now it is blatant, present, and personal. It must be faced: some precious dreams cannot be fulfilled.  As sobering as this is, the larger point of amazement is that some dreams never dreamed now taunt me. I wish I would have pursued them!  It never occurred to me that in my youth I’d be so smug and foolish as to overlook some valuable dreams and go for some that are good but maybe less valuable.  Intentionally, pridefully, I had tried to avoid this! An example belongs here, but to avoid personal sting, I’ll let you image the possibilities and hope you can learn from me and humbly do better.

Do you sense periods of disequilibrium in your life? How do you process them?

Was my dad content and happy because he did not dwell upon what he could have done better in life? Certainly, he did some reflection. I do think his sanguine temperament saved him from some of the torment of a melancholy nature.  My soul grapples with the conflicting propensities of my sanguine and melancholy temperaments.  How do we contend with the raw materials of our natures?

Here is a good place to consider the nurturing role of the Holy Spirit: John 14: 16 through chapter 16.

Here is the place to remember the new nature in Christ: II Corinthians chapter 5.

Now is the time to remember to lean rather than “mislean”: focused on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2), leaning on Him (Proverbs 3:5). Do not lean on your own understanding (“misleaning”), but trust the LORD, for He will direct your steps  (Proverbs 3:5-6).  My steps. My steps through another door. Leaning on Him while traversing this season.

My new heart (the Holy Spirit) counsels, “Don’t pick up that walking stick to lean on — the walking stick of your husband, daughters, dreams and desires.  Your career, ministries, reputation. . . .  There’s only one trustworthy Walking Stick. Not a walking stick.  A personality — whole and balanced, without temperament flaws, without limited insight.  A person. The Person. Yahweh — The LORD.

I’m so glad God is not a force. I’m so glad He is the Perfect Person – Gracious, Wise, and Near.  I’m so glad that this last room (as with any previous room) contains a door opening into an Eternal Room (John 14: 2). To be “in Christ” is to be whole, no matter the season of life. He offers us His equilibrium. My mind needs the renewal of such understanding. Then, maybe, I will find that I can sit in my upholstered chair, listening to lovely music while graciously singing in harmony with my daddy, “I’m just a happy girl.”

Joy to you!  In Christ — Happy, Happy New Year!!


Categories: Spiritual Growth | Tags: , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “The Room of the Last Season

  1. Mark

    Appreciated your comments and insights, Karen. I turn 60 next week–and realizing that if the Lord tarries and/or enables me to reach #75, then fully 80% of my days have already been invested–however wisely or poorly. Planning to make the most of the final 20%! Mark

    • kltolsen

      Mark, Happy Birthday to you!! You beat me to 60 by six months! May your growing heart of wisdom find efficient exercise during this season, how ever long it will be! You have made yourself available to the King and His Kingdom for decades! Your vision for DiscipleLand, your leadership, your biblical insight tailored to the hearts of children, and your writing skills in collaboration with your team continue to produce sharp tools used to equip many around the world. Should the Lord tarry, I believe the echo of your work will continue for generations. God gives good gifts, and you are one of them. Thanks be to the Father!

  2. This is excellent. Thanks for sharing. Sandra

    Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2013 20:51:12 +0000 To:

    • kltolsen

      Thanks, Sandra.Even though you live far from Paul and me, you and your husband are beautiful mentors to us! We have our memories of your examples, the current friendship across the country, and the fine visits together when we return to Ohio (or when you come our way!). We hope to traverse this season as well as you are. You inspire us. Thank you!

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