Have you ever had a year that you are glad to see behind you? That is 2010 for me, sort of. There were things about this year that were pretty fantastic. My little girl is great. I’ve made a difference in the lives of some people I dearly care about. My trip to Mexico was really nice. At first I was pretty conflicted about it. It is a terrible conundrum. Offering someone from Saskatchewan who believes in Global Warming and Peak Oil a half price trip to a warm sunny destination in the winter. It’s like offering a Mennonite free dance lessons. I managed to take my integrity and compress it just a little bit with some swift rationalization and the promise of lots of vitamin D and bright sunshine.
My church has been a real plus. Life has grown so difficult for me over the last 6 months I ended up coasting a lot in the leadership of our house church. My church has supported me and listened to me in ways that I deeply appreciate. I wish I had more to offer the people I care about.
I’d like to say I learned a lot this year, but that wouldn’t really be the case. I managed to keep up with my business and my family and that is about it. In years past I’d spend a lot of time thinking, reflecting, writing and working through stuff. This fall I spent a lot time playing Starcraft II. It wasn’t a total waste of time, I’ve managed climb a ways up the ladder but I’m not sure how much that matters in the grand scheme of life. I played the game because I love it and it was my only non-work related escape from how difficult my role as step-father has been this year.
I attempted to home school my oldest step son this fall and it has just about killed me. A friend of mine asked me if I was getting close to burnout. I said I didn’t think so but I was willing to give it some thought. I googled burnout and found that most of the indicators didn’t apply to me as they were framed. Burnout is normally associated with work, but when I changed the questions and applied them to my family life they were very revealing. I know I haven’t reached the stage of burnout I’ve observed in other friends. I can still work and function, but I am more emotionally fragile and I’ve come to a very low place in my relationship with my oldest son. I don’t know where I’d be right now if it weren’t for my wife and the fact they she went a long vacation after a very difficult fall. It was timely and has probably saved me from being a much more difficult place.
The boy is going back to school regardless of the risks. I have my doubts about how well that will work out, but home schooling has been a failure and I don’t have the emotional and mental resources left to keep going.
There is one thing that I’ve learned that guides much of my life. Genuine love is essential in ministry. It also leads to a lot of difficulty, hardship and even suffering. If one is to genuinely love those that God guides us too, we require much love to keep going.
It is my hope that I will learn as much about Hope as I have about Love in 2011.