So tomorrow is a return to normalcy, whatever that looks like, with the Holidays done and school back in session. Vacation is over. A return to the ordinary. It's hard to believe that one month ago, I flew off to the wilds of the Nevada desert for a training class for work. I've not experienced any kind of routine since then. The training class was intense, some of the most difficult work of my career, and lasted two weeks. It was the longest separation of my daughter's life, for both of us.
Upon my return, daughter Melody and I spent some bonding time gearing up for Christmas, doing some shopping, watching IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, the greatest movie ever made (in my opinion), on the big screen at the AFI Silver Theater in downtown Silver Spring. We had a wonderful Christmas with the whole family, and followed that up with another getaway for a few days to Williamsburg, VA, where we went to Busch Garden's Christmas Town celebration. We also saw the new Star Wars movie while in Williamsburg, and it was pretty awesome. We celebrated Dad's 71st birthday just before the New Year rang in, and caught a great Maryland Women's basketball game yesterday with good friends. And after all that, we got to celebrate the Pittsburgh Steelers return to the playoffs with a big win today (and a Jets loss). Whew!
I spent most of today focused on my return to work tomorrow. Attitude being everything, I'm concerned about not having the right attitude about my job. I was really enthused about work after I returned home from my training class, and my three days in the office just before Christmas felt good, overall. I was not feeling good about much of the circumstances surrounding work just prior to the class. I knew this had to change. So I'm anxious about tomorrow.
It's important that I have the right mindset from the get go, especially given how depression has clouded my thinking for several years now. I'm excited to put into effect some of the strategies I learned from the class, and that may be enough to keep me positive, but there's also a looming project coming up mid-week that has kept much of our management staff on edge for a few months now. That may take precedence.
Part of the training I received had to do with my own health, particularly my mental health, and I made a commitment to make this a priority. The reality is that this focus may prove to be life-changing. I've tried to maintain better physical health since returning, but the mental health is key.
I'm excited to be working on my spiritual health, too, and Pastor Mark's message last evening, at our church, Grace Community, really impacted me. I have not been a very good advocate of my faith. I know Jesus as my Lord and Savior, but in my battle with depression, I've too often forgotten to look to Him. Mark's message was a nudge towards being more service oriented. I've been content to just attend my church instead of being actively involved, mostly due to my commitment to my role as a single parent to my daughter. But I know that balance is needed, and my faith is the most important thing in my life. That doesn't make me any less of a parent. It only makes me stronger.
My wife, Teresa, before her untimely death and home-going, which sent me spiralling into the depths of depression, taught me a lot about faith by how she carried herself. Her focus was on being a servant, and this was apparent in her role and career as a teacher ("neighbor"), the things she involved herself in at our church, and how she carried herself and lived her life. She lived life the way God wants us to live our lives. She was such a great role model.
I was already a Christ-follower when we met, but she showed me how to serve Christ. I've forgotten how to do that while I've tried to scramble my way out of this hole (depression) I've been in. But through a combination of factors, including consciously recognizing that my recovery can and will lead to a better outlook, and make me a better person, is where I've placed my hope, and my faith is the motor to make it happen. I don't want to return to normalcy, or the ordinary. There are no ordinary moments. Life is extraordinary.
I will keep you apprised of my progress. And if you're looking for a church home, or have questions about God and how He can work in your life, come to Grace Community Church. What a wonderful place this is.
I'll have more on all of this in future posts, I'm sure. In the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful week.