They say midlife crisis begins at a certain age. Kids have left the home. A job is lost.
Something triggers a psychological crisis of the soul that makes one say “I have to change.”
Well, I’m not in the middle of my life (I hope), but boy am I feeling the psychological pinch.
Back in college, I had a CD boombox perched on a kitten-covered trunk in the corner of my room. It was my very first CD player and it was given to me by my parents along with the ground-breaking album “Janet.” The fact that the CD player made it to college is somewhat a miracle as I played it to death. Nevertheless, the black box still picked up radio stations and spun my favorite CDs, bruised exterior and all.
I remember when I began investigating Christianity and my faith further as a freshman. I remember that moment that Jesus and this Christian walk became real to me…it wasn’t just the thing that kept me on the straight-and-narrow or helped me maintain good morals. No, this Jesus guy seriously saved me from living a really dark, meaningless life.
One day, before that life-changing revelation, I put on a CD featuring a band I’d listened to since junior high school, Switchfoot. My Christian friends Matt and Jon loved Switchfoot and I’d grown to really like them, too. One song in particular (called “Learning to Breathe” goes:
“I’m learning to breathe,
I’m learning to crawl,
I’m finding that you and you alone can break my fall,
I’m living again…awake and alive
I’m dying to breathe in these abundant skies…”
I don’t remember what my day was like that day, but I do remember that in that moment, my world seemed to dramatically shift into focus.
This is the beginning.
“Beginning” of what? I had thought I had already begun the adventure into adulthood.
I knew who I was.
I knew where I wanted to go.
I knew what I wanted out of life.
….Or so I thought.
Life, as I’m beginning to understand it, isn’t just about small progressions. It’s not just about getting married, having kids, maintaining a job, saving for retirement and then skipping away tra-la-lee.
It’s full of huge roadblocks and speed bumps and crazy yetis coming from out of nowhere to pounce on you and freak you the heck out.
These are the moments when you’re supposed to lay down your burdens. You’re supposed to surrender. You’re supposed to somehow find an inner peace and tarry on.
I’ve chosen to grip the wheel tighter and grit my teeth through it.
Oh, I trust that my car isn’t going to down…or, if it does, I have a pretty stellar roadside assistant. That isn’t the problem. The problem is, when push comes to shove and I’m in turmoil, I choose to look at the crappy road and all of the obstacles and focus on all of that instead.
And I forget to breathe.
And then I’m back to crawling.
It doesn’t matter if my circumstances are life or death; scary just to me or scary to everyone. The point is, I have a choice.
I’ve let go of so much and chosen to get stuck in my obstacles.
It’s time to breathe again.