Monday, June 10, 2013

It's no longer working

Somewhere in my 40s, I started noticing something about people in my age group. It's become more apparent now that I'm a decade past that. Perhaps I see more of it because I'm an ordained minister and people tend to confide in me. But I really think I am on to something.

What's hit me is how many people who have been trying to make life work on their own terms seem to hit the wall at about this point in their lives. However they've been coping with life's realities become less and less effective with time, and now it's to the point where it's crumbling.

Addictions don't fly under the radar anymore—now they're causing real damage. If they've been self-medicating to get by, it's no longer enough. If there are financial issues, at this point the hole seems impossibly deep. If mental health hasn't been looked after, now its built-up repercussions are taking a real toll. If there has been physical neglect, disease has set in. It's also the time when friendships, marriages and families fall apart.

In every aspect of life, people can no longer get away with living as they did when they were younger. The chickens come home to roost in these decades.

Everywhere I look in my age group—friends and family, co-workers and church folks—all seem to be hanging on by a thread as they experience setbacks and major life disappointments, many of their own making.

What an opportunity for the church to offer hope to ordinary, broken people, to really reach out with a message of love, acceptance and healing.

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