I spent some time evaluating life this weekend. Everyone should take stock every so often but I think it is vitally important when life seems to be in constant flux, constantly adapting. That is the way I feel the last three years have been.
The reality is that everyone has to make adaptations throughout life but my changes have been rapid and dramatic. I know that I am not the only one who has ever experienced this type of change—some far more rapid and dramatic—but I am the one in the middle of this one.
So how did the evaluation turn out? I would say a solid “B” for better than average. There is no doubt that life is good and moving forward yet so much is unsettled. As soon as I came to this conclusion, I heard the voice of Socrates say, “define settled.” I gave up and took a nap… no, not really.
I began to wonder what a “settled” life looks like after the death of a spouse and living as a single parent. Perhaps there isn’t such a thing.
Maybe “settled” is a myth one falls into believing when everything is going well and everything is happening in a neat, orderly, and expected manner. Maybe settled means routine; when there is the appearance of control. Settled might be the idea of being on top of things so one is guiding life instead of reacting to it.
In all of deliberations so far, dear Socrates, I have only come up with a partial working definition…
A settled life seems to be a life of balance between having a realistic expectation of “what’s next” and the knowledge that there is nothing certain about “what’s next”. It is having a realistic expectation that completing a fair amount of the “to do list” in some orderly fashion without too many uncertainties interrupting the process is a real possibility. A settled life is one of contentment despite uncertainty. It’s about having peace even though three things on the shopping list were forgotten. A settled life accepts today’s accomplishments as being the best possible outcome for what the day presented. It is about being fulfilled by who one is today in spite of one’s imperfections. A settled life accepts the unsettledness, ultimately trusting the One who holds the future.
How do I rate life according to the working definition? Again, “B”.
What will it take to get an “A”? Time …..or grading on a curve. I haven’t decided.
In the mean time, I’ll just enjoy the journey.