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WHAT IF I HAD RUN AWAY DURING MY MIDLIFE CRISIS?

I was flying over western New York State toward my home in California after speaking at a week-long conference. The plane was equippeAirplane in the skyd with an air-phone built into the seat, and I decided to call my grandchildren who live in Michigan. It was fun for them to be able to talk to their "Jimpa" (that's me), flying directly over their city at 35,000 feet. It was also great fun for me to "connect" to these special grand kids.

As I hung up the phone, I had feelings of gratitude--deep gratitude. I stared out the window for a long time, asking myself the question, "What if?"

I'm sure that many times you've asked, "What if?" "What if, at some fork in the road, I had made another choice?" Perhaps as you reflected, you thought, as I did, of the results of your choices.

While I stared out the a
irplane window, reflecting on "what if?", I thought about all that I would have lost if I had run away during my midlife crisis.

Yes, at the time I was working 100 hours a week. Yes, I was under pressure because I dreaded turning 45. Yes, I felt life was passing swiftly and I didn't know if mine had counted for anything. Yes, I had just lost a close friend who died of a massive heart attack at age 36. Yes, I was dealing with my daughter’s impending leg amputation because of cancer. At that time, however, running away seemed so appealing.

But, as I stared out the airplane window, I thought about all that I would have lost if I had abandoned ship. I repeatedly thanked God that I hadn't run--that He had hung onto me in my midlife crisis. I began to list the things that probably never would have happened if I had run.


But perhaps the biggest loss would have been to Sally and me. It's common for divorced people to feel they have failed. If I had run away, the biggest loss would have been our broken relationship and my deep sense of failure.



I never would have authored or co-authored the fourteen books that Sally and I have written. In addition, I never would have contributed to other books, nor written magazine articles, nor led hundreds of seminars all over the United States, Canada, and overseas.

If I had made the decision to run, I also would have missed the privilege of influencing hundreds of seminary students--helping them effectively minister to people.

If I had become a Caribbean beach bum, Sally and I would not have been on national and international radio
Man on beach sunbathing and television programs. We wouldn't have had our daily radio program for midlife people on 200 stations.

Over the last twenty plus years, the ministry of MIDLIFE DIMENSIONS by our website, through hundreds of conferences, plus letters, e-mail, and telephone calls, has helped hundreds of couples work through midlife issues so their marriages could be reunited. Many of these couples had already been to counselors who had said their marriage was hopeless. If I had made the choice to leave and just get a suntan, some of these reunited couples would now be divorced.


But perhaps the biggest loss would have been to Sally and me. It's common for divorced people to feel they have failed. If I had run away, the biggest loss would have been our broken relationship and my deep sense of failure.


Then I lifted my eyes toward the clear, blue sky and said, "Thank you God for hanging onto me when I wanted to run.


Heaven
As I looked out the airplane at 35,000 feet, passing over where some of my grand kids lived, I asked myself again, "What if I had run away?" I might not be able to phone my grandchildren. I would have been the villain for abandoning the family. In those moments I felt what it
would be like to be a grandfather flying over the grand children's home, knowing I was not welcome.

Then I lifted my eyes toward the clear, blue sky and said, "Thank you God for hanging onto me when I wanted to run. Thank you for all the ministry impact you've given to Sally and me. And thank you for the 'connections' you're strengthening among all of us as an extended family."

Has God been hanging onto you lately? He’s not trying to keep you in pain or exploit you--He loves you and wants the very best! Aren’t you grateful that He’s held on to you at other decision times? Ask yourself, "What if?" right now! Your reflection may help you trust Him again now.


By Jim and Sally Conway

Conway / Farrel Articles ~    Reprint by permission only,  ©2011

Midlife Dimensions ~ www.Midlife.com

  

The Conways and Farrels are international speakers and popular authors.

Midlife Dimensions is a ministry founded by the Conways and continued by the Farrels.