Fourteen years ago I heard about a set of conflicts people have over their lifetime according to a set of clockwork stages you could predict by ages. I heard about one, generativity, when I was thirty. According to some theorists that are beholden to Erickson, the conflict is with stagnation and stagnation tends to win unless there is intervention.
The bad news and the unspecified intervention was my cliffhanger. Here I was, thirty years old, and wondering what I was going to do with my life as a recently divorced, non-custodial father of three young kids. Where was my generativity? Or was I bound to go the way of stagnation? The Erickson theorists pose the existential question, “Can I Make My Life Count?” Due to some complications in my life at the time, I could not go to school to get the rest of this line of thinking that the instructor said I would learn.
But that question about making a life count can be explored through more than existentialism but through the prism of knowing and being known by Jesus. He wants us to bear fruit in Him. This is not easy but possible. Being real and trusting Him to complete the work he began in us is an important center for those on the journey (Phillipians 1:6).
“Is it OK to Have Been Me?”
That is the next question for the next conflict of the next, and last, stage to Erickson’s stages theory. Many of us may know the verse of Paul in 2 Timothy 4:6-7 “As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
No shock here to those who have been reading my blogs for a while, but now I bring it back to the an ex-fisherman named Shemon Bar-Yonah also known as Simon Peter. In the coming weeks we will see him answering the same questions in his epistles that he writes also in his old age albeit sometimes between the lines. But Peter really gets the answers for sure on the other side of this life just as we do.
Did I make my life count?
Was it okay to have been me in the way my heart, words and actions were?
Or if we want to really flip things as we appropriate the scripture in our ongoing conversions to Jesus:
Am I okay now being His workmanship yet open to change?
Do I make my life count now? And where does it count beyond my own self-interests?
The Scriptures say now is the day of salvation. Wherever you are, whatever your doing, seeking means asking and asking is receiving. No better time than the present.
“Thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee.” —St. Augustine
PS I nearly have a Masters in Social Work and that cliffhanger has still not been answered completely.