Losing Focus…

There are times when I post personal quandaries. This is one of them because I am feeling overwhelmed at the moment.

This week my father entered to hospital with end stage Parkinson, pneumonia, congestive heart failure. He has very little time. We  were never close, I guess partly my fault, partly his. I don’t remember when he last said he loved me. And most of our conversations have been strained and usually lasted less than 5 minutes. So, now there is no more chances to develop a deep and meaningful relationship. As a result, I don’t know what feelings I should be experiencing at this time.

This comes on top of being out of work for a little over seven months now, with no prospects and when  I opened my email this Wednesday I found that I was sent another “thanks but no thanks” rejection notice. Being out of work not only has eliminated bank accounts, it has kept me from interacting, guiding, and helping people on a regular basis. I am feeling disconnected and questioning my abilities.

I try hard not to feel sorry for myself and withdraw. I struggle with depression but there are times when I  have to make myself do things. A year ago, I had a breakthrough in my personal life, finally integrating two mutually exclusive part of me but that movement forward has come to a halt.

Many of the people I had good friendships with were also my co-workers and little by little I am losing touch with them. They played a huge role in my overall support. In the churches I attend, I am fairly new, and I have yet to develop any meaningful relationships with anyone outside of the pastors.

Many emotions. Many feelings. Much confusion.

Even God seems far from me.


18 thoughts on “Losing Focus…

  1. I am struck with compassion for your situation. Having experienced unemployment combined with an illness that prevented me from keeping a driver’s license, and a continual struggle to develop a relationship with my physically present but emotionally absent father.

    Psalm 142 and the book of Jonah are places I have found strength through loneliness and self-perceived irrelevance. David was holed up in a cave when writing these lyrics, Jonah had to experience abandonment and desolation in “the belly of the beast” before he could hold his head up high (even then, God had to take him down a couple of notches!).

    Keep your head above water and continue moving forward. There is a shore in every direction, if you swim long enough.

    1. Thanks so much for your words of encouragement. Your thoughts are appreciated so much.

      Thanks too for reading.

      Peace to you,
      Mark Lee

  2. Friend,

    I hardely belive God is haphazard about our lives. I don’t know you so you can take this or leave it but it there are some blogs on my page related to the time my father passed away and even teh grief that took place. I think hard times are a fight for endurance which James says that endurance is what completes our faith! You are not alone!

    -A fellow believer

  3. I have often wondered why so many of the Psalms are lamenting and seem hopeless or angry….but the more I live and choose not to pretend to have it all together, the more I understand those psalms. You are not alone even though you feel alone.
    And your sharing your struggles serves to free us from our pretending to have it all together as Christians. We can release ourselves to lament fully with each other. We can wait on God together with all the frustration, tears, joys, applause we can muster up.
    Praying for you.

  4. Mark, I’m holding you in thought and prayer today. My mom, 89, survived a stroke 16 months ago and life is not good. I know what it is like to have to make care decisions and visits under circumstances of unresolved family ‘dysfunction’ . Keep reaching out to your former colleagues and perhaps try to find a new place to meet new people. It is a time to figure out what taking care of yourself looks like as well. peace, Lynn / TX

    website: http://www.ichthysdesigns.com

    When I stand before God at the end of my life I would hope that I have not a single bit of talent left and could say, “I used everything You gave me.” attributed to Erma Bombeck

    Joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness.” Leo Tolstoy

    1. thanks for sharing your thoughts and for reading as well.

      I covet your prayers too.

      In grace,
      mark lee

  5. I feel for you – I have had a poor relationship with my parents since i was about 14. I saw them 3 times a year from the age of 11 and never felt i knew them or they knew me. I left school at 17 and in the next 4 years saw them maybe 3 or 4 times despite the fact that I had given birth to their first grandson. My father died 4 weeks before my daughter was born within 6 weeks of being diagnosed with terminal cancer. I did not make the long trip north to see him and I have never really missed him. Now my mother, who is 86, has dementia – I have never had a meaningful converstion with her, have avoided her as much as possible and the chance to have any kind of relationship with her has gone.
    Two things which might help – accept the relationship for what it has been, without laying blame – it is what it is. If you are upset, accept that you are grieving for the father you wish you had had rather than the one you’ve got. And if you can bring yoursledf to do it, go see him, show him your blog, tell himm you wish it might have been different – for all you know, he might be feeling the same way but not know how to start the conversation. It could be that he will die a happier man because of you – and you might live as a happier man because of him. If not, well you’re not in any worse a place.
    Prayers for you – and for him.

    1. thank you so much for sharing part of your life story here too.

      thank you also for the prayer and words of encouragement.

      mark lee

  6. I’ll be blunt. The first thing that came to my mind was an image of R. Lee Ermey impersonating a therapist and throwing a box of kleenex at you. My next thought was of Elijah after he embarrassed (and then killed) more than 800 priests of Ba’al then went into a cave to hide and prayed for death. Did God throw a box of kleenex at him? No, he sent an angel to make him a happy meal and tell him to take a nap.

    Go have a snack, lie down in the grass and stare at some clouds. If it gets windy or the earth moves or something starts burning just stay calm. Chances are that if you give yourself a moment of peace, you’ll find God there with you, right where he’s been the whole time.

    Then get your ass to the hospital and sit with your dad. You have that much time to continue adding to your relationship with each other. Don’t waste it writing to us about your distance. There will be plenty of time to tell us about it later.

    1. Jason, thanks for your bluntness, it is appreciated. I have been to the hospital several times now. He is being keep unconscious and comfortable. The time to build something is past. But I can take what I have learned and continue to seek to have good relationships with my children, so that when it is my time they will not regret.
      Peace to you,
      mark lee

  7. Mark, reading the others lovely and helpful comments, I hesitate to write for all of the above are true – make peace with your Dad as best you can , whatever has happened in the past.
    I find myself also travelling a difficult journey at present – and when everything overwhelms me, I find a quiet place, stay still and gradually a little bit of that “peace that passes understanding” calms my fears.
    I do not know what lies round the corner, I often feel stuck in circumstances I cannot change and feel more and more that life is passing me by.
    Sometimes all I can do is just cling to the hope I have in God that He will never let me down, whatever happens.
    In all your fears, hopelessness and saddness you are captive in just know that sometimes we have to walk through the deepest valleys before we can reach the mountain-tops of our dreams
    God has not forgotten your, nor I, some day in the near future, the unexpected will happen, something will change – just keep trusting…
    Nothing can separate us from God’s love “neither life, nor death, nor our fears for today nor our worrie about tomorrow.
    You have a Heavenly Father who loves you dearly, forgive your own Dad for not being able to love you in the way you long for, – for, in reaching out – you will find that love is returned a thousand times
    Thinking and praying for you..

    1. Thank you so much.

      I had forgiven my father a long time ago. But that never changed the relationship. Now he lingers, unconscious, for days. I had given up on the idea that there would ever be a meaningful relationship. His being at the edge of life just reminded me about how much I missed.
      Your encouragement is always welcome.
      Peace to you,
      mark lee

  8. Dear Mark,

    First, my condolences on the death of your father. Even when we are not “close” to a parent, their passing still tears at our hearts. Grieve, but remember that you do not need to grieve like one who has no hope. You will be reunited with your father and not only will each of you be healed, your relationship will be healed as well. In this life you have only been able to see dimly what a relationship with your father could be like, then you shall see all – face-to-face.

    I also felt for you as you continue to try to understand where God is calling you to serve. I have been on a very similar journey. My job ended last August. It has been a year since I have served full time in the church (in my case as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). I have since been working at a local Walmart and more recently part time in an African-American church in downtown Dallas, Texas. I am still hopeful to return to full time ministry, but this last year has been a struggle – financially, emotionally, and spiritually. I have tried to stay as positive as possible – to see how God is using me in ways that are different. I try to be a blessing to all the people I encounter every day – but some days are more difficult than others. I have been learning what it means to have “daily” bread – to be dependent on what I receive each day – and try not to worry about the future (plan yes, but not worry).

    Mark, in your case, know that you ARE still doing ministry. Your blogs – as helpful and therapeutic as they may be for you – have and continue to be a blessing for me. In a world where churches are often private country clubs and politicians claim to be speaking for God while preaching hatred, your words are a refreshing breeze of grace (no, make that Grace). I understand that you are riding an emotional and spiritual rollercoaster, but just because you are not “working” in the church, never ever think that you are not doing ministry. Your words have enriched my journey, allowed me to hear words of Grace, and made me feel like I am not alone.

    Blessings to you in your continued ministry.

    + Peace +

    Rob Moore

    1. Thank you Rob for your kind words and your insight, I appreciate your comment more than you can imagine. Peace to you and I pray that soon God will move in your life and put in you the job He has been preparing all along.
      Mark Lee

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s