Thursday, June 23, 2011

Reluctant Husband Syndrome - Question 10


I want my kids out of the house when I grow old, because I want ME time.

Ah, the American Dream. 
The day after your youngest takes off his graduation gown, he drives off into the sunset, with you and wifey arm in arm, sporting Norman Rockwell grins, and giving a slow Rose Bowl wave to the back of his car.
You both run into the house, grab the suitcases and cooler, and throw them into your brand-spanking-new 40-foot, triple-slide fifth wheel RV.  Wifey and you slam the doors shut and…”Yeeeeeeeeeeeee-haaaaaaaw!”
Free at last…free at last…thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
SETTING: Sitting at three-legged breakfast table.  Your face in the newspaper.  Wifey’s face in her coffee mug.
WIFEY:      Have you heard from Little Jack?
YOU:         Nope.
WIFEY:      What about Sheila?
YOU:         Nope.
WIFEY:      Reginald?
YOU:         (Silence.)
WIFEY:      How come the kids don’t call?
YOU:         Busy, suppose.
WIFEY:      All day and night?
YOU:         (Silence.)
You slowly get up, removing your slipper to swat a cockroach racing across the floor.  Then sit back down, burying your face in the paper.
WIFEY:      How come the kids don’t call?
YOU:         (Grunt.)
WIFEY:      How come the kids don’t call?
Hey, even if I’m dancing the rumba every night in Cancun, sipping horchatas, that too gets old.

The irony of this Christian life is that we know we’re supposed to surrender our lives to Jesus, but only the part before we retire.  When that day comes, watch out, it’s ME time, baby!  Time to break out the bubbly (non-alcoholic, of course) and rock to Petra. 
After all, I have to retire, don’t I?  Isn’t that part and parcel of the American Dream?  Work hard, earn truckloads of money, then go on a permanent sabbatical until Jesus comes?  Oh, I may encourage younguns in church now and then.  I might even pray for them, if opportunity presents itself.  But now it’s chip-cashing time.  Close that 401K right on schedule and see the world, man.


The key words are “themselves” versus “God.”
I can store up food.  I can store up money.  I can even store up time.  I can plan my time for the rest of my life, if I like. 

Just as it is with my life, my time is not my own either.  Oh, great, Lord.  Anything else you want?  Yeah.  Everything else.  Yep, that just about covers it.
But what’s interesting about the passage in James is that I get caught up saying I’m going to do this and that.  God just doesn’t say we shouldn’t do that.  He goes out of His way to say, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
In other words, instead of planning to build up wealth or do whatever else I decide to do with my life, I need to consider the good I ought to do—or rather, I KNOW to do.
Why?  Because otherwise, my plans are futile.  If I don’t live out my life the way God wants me to, chances are, it won’t look pretty.


I love that word “but.”  I can plan and plan and plan.  I can say, when my kids grow up and leave, I’m going to have a life!  BUT…if I call myself a Christian, God may have it turn out my way, but He will ALWAYS have it turn out HIS way.
Personally, I envisioned a quiet retirement.  I thought, yeah, I’ll agree to have a lot of kids, but I had better have my time when I’m old.  Oh, I never spoke the words.  But trust me, they were in my heart.
I repented before the Lord, and I told Him I never want to save my own life.  Have your way in my life’s final chapter as well as the rest of the book, Lord.  Even if that means my nest won’t be so empty when I retire.


  1. Dude - spot on with this one! "Back in the day" I was born as a 'surprise' to two parents that were 47 (mom) and 52 (dad)- the year was 1959. OK - yeah - dad would die young (60 - I was 8) and I missed out on a lot of that - but I never wanted for anything and mom would laugh at the 'cute grandson' comments she got.

    If you run the math out - I was 47 when our youngest adopted was born....the apple didn't fall far from the tree!

    In all honesty - I'm a much better parent to the three younger than I was to the three older. With the older three I was too young to 'get it' - and things were constantly a crisis - today I'm not only more comfortable with myself - I've also learned to trust that things will workthemselves out - be it money, schedules, or what ever else.

    It should be biologically impossible for us to have kids until we are well into our 30's so we have time to learn a little something about living, life, and Faith before we are able to start raising our kids!

    Great work - oh and as a PS - you know your wife's blog is down?


  2. This is a great post! I am so glad you started to blog, I love your wife's blog. You are both my inspiration for a family! Thank you so much for sharing your lives so we can better ours!!!

  3. LOVE THIS POST. Thanks so much for putting this all into words! The battle against me-me-me is a constant one in our world and words like this are so encouraging. Thank you again!

  4. Amen. Spot on.

    I think of John Piper's description of a retired couple , who live near the ocean, each day they take a boat ride, collect shells, walk the beach and watch the sunset...sounds pretty good eh? He describes this a "wasted life".
    A warm fire is sweetest when you have come in from a blizzard.
    A cold drink of water tastes like honey when you have worked a long time in a hot field.
    A little bit of "me" time is fantastic and precious when somehow, someway all of our 8 kids still at home have something going on and don't need us for just awhile....:)

  5. We have seen this very thing unfold w/ our parents. They worked and worked and saved and saved and retired 12 hours away from all their kids (who all live within 30 min of each other - how convenient!) And they talk about the retirement home they want to move to one day when they're really old. They don't want us to take care of them in their old age. This is almost impossible for me to fathom.
    The sad thing is: they've been deceived by the American media.
    Nobody, and I mean nobody, is truly happy in a retirement home. I've seen it too many times. They look forward to being with "friends their age", but then have assigned seating at mealtime- their only social time- and find they are really lonely, if not bored.
    Heartbreaking. Truly heartbreaking.

  6. And AMEN to John Piper's "Don't Waste Your Life". Excellent book.


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