The Cycle of Life

This week, as we have been dealing with the passing of my father-in-law, I have been contemplating the various stages of life.

When I was in my 30’s, I thought I understood life….the cycle of life, that is.  We had young children, we had an active family life, we had careers. Our parents were alive.  “We” were 3 full generations, and it seemed like I just “got it.”

But as our children grew up and had children of their own, our family joyfully grew to four generations.  My husband and I assumed the role of grandparents, we stepped from one stage of life into another.  Life changed. It was even richer.

As the years passed, I lost both of my parents, and my husband lost his Mom. And last week his Dad.  Our family is back to 3 generations, but now my husband and I are the oldest generation in our family…… Yet another season of life for us.

As I think about all of this, I wonder if I took the time to fully enjoy each step of the way. I would like to think so. But if I were honest I would say probably not. Sure, at times I was focused on where we were in life, but at other times I was looking either forward or backward.

I know there will be more seasons in my life. But as I have journeyed from one season to another and have witnessed the passing of an entire generation in our family,  I think I finally do get it.

Each season of life has its own joys and rewards; it’s own lessons to teach. “Taking pleasure in the delights of your age, whether you are in your 20s, 40s, 60s, or 80s, can help you see the magnificence and usefulness of the complex seasons of your life.” (Madisyn Taylor).

I witnessed this in my father-in-law. He enjoyed life, no matter how young or old he was. He taught me this lesson.

Because of him, I am passionately dedicated to enjoying the phase of life I am in now. 

In honor of Colonel Richard G. Schulz, U.S.A.F. Ret.

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Comments (10)

  1. What a wonderful and heartfelt article! Your father-in-law sounds like an amazing soul. It is a blessing you had him for soo long!

    August 11, 2018 at 8:19 am
  2. So beautifully stated, Karen. Air Force family here too, thank you to your family for your service. My he rest peacefully, my condolences to your family.

    August 11, 2018 at 11:39 am
  3. Stacy

    I am sorry for your loss. I thank you for your insight. I have been struggling lately with my current ‘stage’ in my life. I lost my Mom in ’12, the following year I broke my leg and my daughter became VERY ill………missing out on her Senior year of high school. Now, my “baby” (son) is 17, nearly 18, and my daughter is 21. My dad has Alzheimers and I’m going to be 60 next year. I find myself feeling very sad many a day. I haven’t embraced the seasons yet. I’m struggling with finding meaning in my life now that my SAHM days are behind me. Sorry, I didn’t mean to talk about myself so much, but you struck a nerve and I truly appreciate your insight. Thanks! For the freebie and your lovely tribute to your FIL.

    August 11, 2018 at 4:23 pm
    • Karen

      Hi Stacy, Thank you for sharing your heart here. I’m sorry you are facing so many tough challenges, especially so close together. I can tell you that you are not alone. I think there are many of us who struggle or have struggled with the same identity crisis you mention. But remember – no matter how old your children are, they still NEED you – just in a different way now. Hugs, Karen

      August 11, 2018 at 4:34 pm
  4. Robyn

    Thank you Karen for your thoughtful article. Like many others I too am struggling with my stage in life and I am very conscious that I am now at the ‘pointy end’. Your words have really struck a chord with me.

    August 11, 2018 at 4:49 pm
    • Karen

      Thanks, Robyn, for your comment. Yes, when we are facing the “pointy end” it all seems to make more sense, doesn’t it? I’m there with you.

      August 12, 2018 at 8:01 am
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