Halloween has at times seemed like the center of my life for the past two decades. Anyone who works a seasonal job or a job with periods that are particularly active can probably identify with this. Sometimes our work becomes such a big deal in our lives that it seems like there's nothing else, but then things slow down a bit and we find our way back to who we really are. Like a costumed Halloween character, does work mask the real you? What is the real center of your life?
When I was in the Halloween business, especially during September and October I put a lot of time and energy into the work. But I tried not to lose the balance that I made a effort to maintain throughout the rest of the year. I had my duties for several years as a single father raising three daughters and later as a husband with a step-daughter added to our combined family. I tried to keep up with church activities as much as time would allow. I would try to follow my favorite radio programs during work hours and keep abreast of the news. In any way possible I made every attempt to live my regular life with a lot more work hours added in. I spent a lot frantic time running here and there, getting up very early and going to bed very late. But it felt good.
For me there's something about the pressure of meeting deadlines and having an abundance of work that is invigorating, exciting, uplifting. I see it as positive stress. It is all rush rush get it done and then later there is the satisfaction of having achieved the goal and knowing it starts again the next day. It was tiring, but I always knew that once Halloween came then it was back to a more relaxing routine again for the next ten months. The adrenaline rush can be great for a span, but the times of rest are a necessity.
Then that side of my life ended. My daughters had already moved away from home leaving my wife and I in our empty nest. Still it was no time to get depressed or bemoan my losses. In losing my job I didn't lose me, in fact I now have more time for me and things I didn't have time for when I was working full time. Now I'm busy doing the me things and sitting back to just take it easy if I need to. Sure I'll need to be doing something soon about my income situation, but I'm not overly concerned because I still have the Center Of My Life. Since childhood I've always kept God nearby. Some may scoff, but He's never let me down. There have been times when I've turned my back on God, but He has always been there behind me to catch me when something's tried to knock me down. Even if it seemed I was forgetting God, He was always somewhere deep inside where I could call upon Him when I was ready for Him to help. I've had my share of loss and disappointment -- divorce, death, rejection, you name it -- and God has always been there to help me get back up to do whatever it was I needed to do. Don't mind saying it cause it's just the way I feel and it's always worked for me.
Sometimes I hear terrible stories of people committing suicide or committing acts of murder or harm due to losses. People who lose their jobs, their homes, or their families and they just can't bear their loss. A home or a possession or a position in life or any person should not be the "center of one's life". All of these have the potential of being temporal assets that can be taken from you unexpectantly at any time. God is a constant. Even to an atheist God is a constant -- the atheist constantly feels the need to disprove and deny His existence. However, without God what is the real center of life?
What about you? What is your center? Who are you really when everything else is stripped from you? Is there any person, position, or possession that you absolutely know will be there for you always? Any of these can be like a Halloween costume. When Halloween is over you take off the costume and then everyone can see who you really are. Do you know the real you?