I have been going through a less then peaceful transition, moving from a lake home to a senior apartment complex in Baxter, Mn. For many in our apartment the transition has been smooth, but not for yours truly. I do not like the way I have been responding, but it is the truth. I write about my experience to celebrate the blessing of having a caring, godly soul mate in my life, who happens to be my wife, Judy. There will be times in your journey when you will need a caring spiritual friend.
In adapting to a new life style we have gotten into the habit of going daily for a three mile walk together. For me it has become a very helpful time to sort out my perspective on daily life. Our walks together have given me the opportunity to verbalize my emotional and spiritual struggles. After a few months of our walks together, I came to realize that our talks usually brought me back to into focus on the Lord. Here is something that I am learning as a rather seasoned wild man, who still has a long ways to go in being a Christ like person.
On those walks I share and take responsibility for where I am on a particular day. I would express whether I am above water or below water. There are times when I feel like the Psalmist, “Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold” (Ps. 69: 1-2) In Psalm 42 he says, “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls…” (7). Derek Kidner observes the following regarding verse 7. “Here is the picture of all that is overwhelming: his footing gone, and wave after wave submerging him.”
I desperately want to stay above water. But there are times when I feel I am sinking. I share what I am going through with my soul mate. Judy can’t lift me up. She can only clarify, encourage and support me in the struggle. My intention is to be focused on the Lord, not wanting to fall back into the mire. I thank God, for a soul mate who listens to my story and reflects back to me what she discerns, being loving and encouraging, yet holding me accountable.
Paul exhortation in Gal. 6:2 describes some of what God has given Judy and I after 54 years of wanting to be each other’s soul mate. “Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Men, I have asked my wife repeatedly, “Does it bother you that I am so weak at times.” She never has said, “yes” as long as I am taking responsibility for my condition.
As a soul mate, Judy is a spiritual friend I have needed during this transition. Hopefully your wife can be that person for you. It can be one of the blessing of marriage. But if that is not true for you; consider establishing such a relationship. Take it from a fellow traveler, there will be a time when you will need a loving, objective voice giving you perspective, when you feel you are sinking into the mire.