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Caught in the middle

The life of a baby boomer

A woman I know recently had her first baby – at age 44. It was an unexpected blessing, for which she and her husband give thanks daily. But, as the parents among you know, they are also exhausted daily. What might be a challenging routine for a 30-year-old sometimes seems absolutely daunting to these middle-aged first-time parents. Their energy isn’t quite what it was, and their day-to-day tasks also include taking care of her aging parents. Like many baby boomers, this couple is part of the “sandwich” generation, caught in the middle of two very demanding slices of bread. Perhaps it would be more accurate to compare them to the rope in a tug-of-war – much of the time, they feel as if they’re being stretched to the point of fraying.

But like Sharon Byers, they have not frayed; they have grown stronger as the demands on them have grown greater. How do they do it? How has Sharon done it?

The answer is as simple as the title of the magazine you hold in your hands: faith. My friends and Sharon have learned that faith can mean letting go – letting go of expectations, letting go of past hurts, letting go of any sense that we own our time. Faith means giving all of that to the care of God.

Through faith, Sharon has learned to let go of the relationship she always wanted to have with her mother, and to treasure instead the relationship she has with the woman her mother is now. She has learned to pray in a way that does not ask God to change circumstances, but to change her. And God has changed her – giving her the gifts of patience, strength and a sense of his presence.

Through faith, Sharon has come to value time as the gift it is – not something over which we have many rights or much control. She is living each moment of each day being open to God’s presence in her life.

As many of us enter into the tug-of-war years of our lives, we can learn from the example of Sharon and the other quiet “saints” around us, who simply do what God is asking of them and do it with love.

Through faith, another baby-boomer has answered “yes” to God’s call: Bishop Boyea is the first member of that generation to lead us as our shepherd. As priest and bishop, he models Christ’s mandate to the first disciples to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Through his wise leadership, we in the Diocese of Lansing pray that the next line of Matthew’s Gospel passage will be made manifest to all of us: “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

And so, our journey in FAITH continues.