People who don’t take care of their relatives, and especially their own families, have given up their faith.
They are worse than someone who doesn’t have faith in the Lord.
—1 Timothy 5:8 Contemporary English Version
Just six short months ago, my life came to a full stop, figuratively speaking.
No, I didn’t die, although I’ve had brushes with Death twice in my life.
Instead, I learned that saying No to workplace bullying was my right, but as a consequence, my employment was rescinded for refusing to subject myself to it. Which makes sense, I guess, in some strange way.
In any case, the sudden, unexpected loss of income and health insurance has been no small thing, certainly—
But there’s the reality that during this ten years into the career path I’d set out on, I’d been diagnosed as a Type-II diabetic with a pretty bad case of cholesterol. I’d ballooned in weight to the highest point in my life and got winded just climbing the stairs at work to check in with my superiors on this project or that. I was now paying for life insurance and living on a list of pharmaceuticals so that I could continue to sit in that chair working for that employer.
The job was literally killing me and I was paying to let it!
I’ve since found myself with trying to sort out what to do now. And that’s been requiring me to take stock of where I’m at with this life that only exists by the undeserved grace of a Father whom I surely disappoint on a regular basis.
For one thing, I’ve lost 30 pounds now, and I enjoy climbing the stairs at a pretty good clip these days. I enjoy walks with wife and grandchildren as well. And I am enjoying the experience of watching these grandchildren grow and mature into people who will, in my paradigm, in my belief, make the world a better place for others during the course of their lives.
I have been forced from the unexpected change in my sedentary life into a life of motion and action after a decade of sitting as life rushed by me, the only light filling my days that of computer monitors.
I have been forced to realize that I am a workaholic.
I have always felt like I should be working. Doing something and being a provider for my family— I took that responsibility earnestly throughout my life, although my decision-making didn’t always reflect it because of additional factors.
And so I worked. I worked and I worked some more, chasing the money that always went to someone else, everyone else—
But the money chase I’d set out on a decade ago sufficiently provided for the family’s material needs and the insurance was convenient at times, no question about that.
Yet the question I’m asking myself is how did I miss all this, as I watch and interact with my grandchildren as I am able, with my own children— and the answer is the same every time: because I have always been a workaholic. All this last employer provided was an opportunity for that flaw in my self to flourish. The money was a simple exchange for my health and well-being.
I’m facing the other ways my last decade has cost me, as well. The impact on my marriage, my children, and my relationship with a Father Whom I have grown remarkably distant since that day when I awaited my turn to be baptized in Jordan Lake, so young and naïve and the penultimate idealist— my house was in disrepair, to say the least.
I found myself faced with the blunt, unrelenting realization that I had betrayed my faith.
All this time that I had believed that I was providing for my family’s needs, I was failing to provide what my family needed— me. I was caught up in making sure there was money in the bank a whole lot more than discerning that what I needed to be doing was putting memories in the “banks” of the people who looked to me as someone who could be looked to. For my wife, a husband and for my children, a father.
There have been other things I’ve been given the undeserved time to just “sit there and think about it,” of course, and I’ll be getting to those if the days are given me— but suffice it to say for now that there’s a lot of work to be done on my house, pictured so appropriately in the image I chose for this letter to you.
—Timothy B. Kline, September 15, 2019