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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Empty and Full (06/04/09)

TITLE: Halfway Point
By Brenda Kern


And so he died, old and full of years.Job 42:17, NIV

Her thoughts turned toward herself. ďAm I full of my years yet? Well, probably halfway now. No, more than half way.

ďAccording to life expectancy tables, Iím past the midpoint.Ē She thought on that for a moment. Hmmm.

ďAnd what have I got to show for it?Ē This kind of introspection could be brutal, she knew, but this was the mood she was in. So, she urged herself on.

Both parents are gone now, dying relatively young, and our inheritance is not staying with usó-snatched away, gone forever.

No husband, no children.

No job, no prospects for one. No retirement, no health insurance. All in an economic situation with little promise, with business closures everywhere. Economic conversation first featured the word recession, then turned to the dread term depression, and now seems to be moving toward collapse. An ugly word, particularly to those caught in the vortex, most likely to be most hurt.

My siblings are struggling, too: job hunting, moving, battling serious illness, maybe more that hasnít been disclosed to me. And I, though the oldest, can do nothing to help, not a single thing.

She sank a little lower as her questing mind moved toward summary and conclusion. ďIím not happy with my personal life, my career, or my appearance. My physical health may be holding, but my emotional health is eroding away, due to day after empty day, waiting.Ē

Waiting for a job, waiting for a call, waiting for my life to start.

Bitter chuckle. ďItís a little late for that.Ē

Waiting for yet another reload to start. Get another job, start at the bottom of the totem pole again, work hard towardÖ

Nothing. Another layoff? Probably.

Reload again. This cycle isnít any fun; it isnít even satisfactory.

But for me, itís all Iíve got. Decades of nothingness, followed by more empty years as a senior citizen.

The panic rises, that old familiar strangling feeling sets in. An old joke recommends that you ďlive long enough to be a burden to your children.Ē Hilarious.

I canít live to be a burden to my siblings or their children, I simply canít allow it.

Dying full of years, looked on with admiration in the Bible, is a terrifying prospect for me.

Iíd prefer to die now, half full of years, thoroughly full of emptiness.

But Iím not allowed to die, obviously. Iím required to soldier on, like it or not, prefer it or not.

What a joy it must be to be my friend! I light up a room...when I leave it.

I suppose I should be actively seeking joy of some kind, somehow. But, between doing my gloom crunches about unemployment, faking hope for the future during phone calls, and sleeping too much, there hardly seems time.

How did Job do it? He had plenty of doom and gloom to worry over, friends who were no help, and a peach of a wife. (Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die! Job 2:9, NIV)

After all the discourses and scholarly discussion amongst Job and his friends, God has had enough and steps in and speaks. We might have expected kind and comforting words, or explanations, or a defense of Job, but no. The core of what He has to say is this: I am God, you are not. I always have been, I AM, and I always will be, God almighty.

If thereís one theme in the Bible that really speaks to me, she thought, this is it: His identity.

He, God, knows my needs, financial, practical, and otherwise. Heís capable of provision, and His timing is trustworthy.

He, the Creator, knows more about my loved ones and their worries than I do, and is certainly more able to help; all I can do is ask Him to.

He, the Comforter, must wonder why I feel empty, given that He dwells within, filling me with Himself.

I, the believer, canít fear the fullness of years or despise the emptiness of heart. I must bow.

She closes the Bible and the interior discussion, simply trusting.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sharon Kane06/14/09
A very thought-provoking entry. How true it is that old age is seen very differently in Western culture than it was in Bible culture. How sad that it should be so burdensome. I'm glad you ended with her just trusting. It's the only place to be!
Joanne Sher 06/14/09
Definitely thought-provoking and insightful. I think we've all been there at some point, or will be. The answer is always with God.