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Changing Times: Maintaining Focus Throughout life

Updated on November 29, 2015
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Chris practices free writing which often produces humorous or introspective results with practical applications to living life more fully.

The Time's They Are a-Changin', Bob Dylan Then...

The Seasons of Life

If your time to you is worth savin',
Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’--Bob Dylan, 1963

What is our time here all about? Some like to sum it up in one word; God. Others go the other direction and say it’s luck, chance. I look back on my own life and can say that there were times I knew exactly what I was here for.

I met Sandy in September of 1983. I had just moved to Michigan and decided to get a dog. I picked one up at the animal shelter and took it to the vet for its shots. Sandy was the receptionist for the veterinarian.

Long story shortened. We got married a year later. Had our first son less than a year after that. We added a second son and our little family was what it was supposed to be. For the next fifteen years, I had no question what my life was about. Two other pregnancies ended in miscarriages. Twins one time, very early. The second was Benjamin. He was twenty-six weeks along.

The Seasons of Life Change

Can I brag for a minute? I was absolutely focused on my wife and sons while we were all together. We worked together, played together, prayed together and had a full, meaningful family life.

In Dylan’s words, for those years, I was swimmin’. I knew what I was about.

Then came the diagnosis. If my world seemed to be coming unglued, Sandy must have felt hers was exploding or imploding or disintegrating. No one wants to hear they have cancer. And they certainly don’t want it to be accompanied by the word incurable.

But I discovered another reason I was placed on this earth. Be there. Be there for her, every minute, every appointment, every treatment. Be there. I started out well and ended well. In between I had some struggles, but we worked them out together.

I still struggle with losing her. Not only was her life cut far too short; diagnosed at age thirty-six and gone at forty-five, but I lost my dear partner and my reason for living.

Another year struggling, the one after Sandy died. Recently, in a hub pages forum response, I described this period as screaming at the universe, using a beer can as a megaphone. The insanity passed, and I have been finding my way again ever since. It keeps getting a little better, a little closer to a real living.

Family

Sandy, our sons Scott and Dan, Sandy's parents.
Sandy, our sons Scott and Dan, Sandy's parents. | Source

....And Change Again

But it’s not like we have forever to get it right, at least not while we inhabit this body. Like Dylan said,

If your time to you is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’

My sons and I, while separated by space, are bonding once again, and I am regaining their trust. But what now? What is the point, the purpose? I never have to look too far. If I look in places like a book to be written, a job secured or a home to be built, then I’m off target. Purpose is found only where people are found, because that is the only place where love can be expressed. I can’t dwell in the past or withdrawal in the present. Purpose is found in relationships alone.

I have my sons. I focus on them, and you, my hubpages friends. I’m still not very good at this people thing, not like I used to be. But with changing times, I’m finding a new path and a new energy with which to live.

The Times They Are a-Changin', Bob Dylan Now....

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    • cam8510 profile image
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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Thanks for sharing this, Jo.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Catherine, It's great to have you visit my hub. I just saw Dylan on a video today from when he was with the Traveling Wilburys. I appreciate the kind words. Thanks for the vote up. Have a great week.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Bob Dylan was such a great songwriter, a true poet. He also wrote "he who is not busy being born, is busy dying. " (something like that.) It reminds me to make the most of everyday.

      so sorry for your personal struggles. sometimes all we can do is to turn tragedy into art. Bob Dylan was all about that. Voted Up +++

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 2 years ago

      So sad to read about your loss. What a deep loss to have to walk through.

      You have shared something which all of us can learn from. We must begin with your profound and insightful thoughts about.

      " Purpose is found only where people are found, because that is the only place where love can be expressed." You have shown much love to your wife through the unimagineable times to have to deal with.

      "I can’t dwell in the past or withdrawal in the present. Purpose is found in relationships alone."

      Your children are very lucky to call you "dad". You have shown by example through your courage to make it to the other side that comes when we heal. May God Bless you, all your relationships and I truly wish you the very best of what life can bring.

      Shared, Up and tweeted.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Theresa, There are times when I feel overwhelmed with emotion about all of this, and for some reason, I choose those times to sit down and just write from the center of it all. I wouldn't do that to my readers if the sorrow and devastation were not accompanied by joy and regeneration. Thank you for the blessings. Happy Holidays.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Chris - I came here this afternoon just to read a Hub ... I did not expect to find eloquence and joy and sorrow and devastation and regeneration. What a story, what a life. I am sitting here crying quietly (always a good thing for me - either my heart is very tender or God has spoken to me often through others) suddenly so aware of my blessings, encouraged to make everything about people, and all other goals secondary.

      Thank you for pouring your heart out. Blessings, blessings, blessings. Theresa

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      "Now, git!" That may be the most direct, practical and useful advice I've received in the last six and a half years, Deb. It is interesting though. When I do freewrites, this is often the kind of thing that ends up on the paper. Thank you for the encouragement. One of these days, I'll break free more completely, and it will be a new beginning.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      All you can do is keep on keeping on, Chris. Best believe I'm walking right behind you, spurring you on. Now, git!

    • cam8510 profile image
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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Gypsy Rose Lee, family is everything. Thanks for reading this and for commenting. Nice to see you.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Ann, thank you for those wonderful words. Courage? Maybe at one point in this process, but now it comes much more naturally. I can share without shame because I've learned to accept me. Also, those old behaviors are past and if I keep living the way I am now, they shouldn't be coming back. Thanks again, Ann.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Times sure are a changing and to help us drift through life it's always hopeful to retie family ties.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      This must have taken some courage to write, Chris. I had tears in my eyes at the end. You have experienced great sadness and great joy. We are all lucky to have the joy given us.

      My feelings, best wishes and support go out to you. I know friends here at hubpages mean a lot and give huge support too. I agree with you that relationships are all, nothing can equal them even if we do look at being as busy as possible to stop sad thoughts invading our mind. Friends and loved ones can heal, help and provide more joy in this wonderful world.

      I admire your courage in forging forward once more. Good luck with all your writing, which has become outstanding lately, and may your future be full of happiness.

      Ann

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Ruby, you are so sweet and kind. Between this article, and availiasvision's challenge to do a self interview, I've done quite a bit of laying it all out there for all to see the last few days. But it feels right. I appreciate your words here. Thank you.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I read this yesterday, couldn't comment. I felt too sad, but today I see you in a different light. You have been through the fire and survived. You have many good books waiting to be written. I wish you happiness and a new beginning. God bless you and yours...

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Jo, thank you for those sweet, kind and encouraging words. I have to admit, without something extra special going on behind the scenes, this life may have been a complete train wreck. As it is, things are turning out okay. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

    • cam8510 profile image
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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      John, Thanks for reading this bit of personal writing. After I read your comment, I decided to go ahead and write the interview challenge. So I'm in the middle of that now. Thanks for inspiring me today.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      I'm so sorry for your loss, life can seem so unfair. But 'times,' as Dylan so astutely sang, they are a-changin...when we're in the eye of the storm, moving on is not what we want to think about. Yet, move on we must. I like to think that when the ones we love are gone, there are angels beside us guiding the way. My best to you.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you for sharing this very personal part of your life Chris. It would not have been easy for you, but much easier than what you and your family had to go through. I don't know how I would handle losing my wife or any of my children, though we have been through a miscarriage. A few of us have been opening up with the recent "self-interview" challenge by availiasvision, but this hub surpassed all that. Voted up.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Frank, thank you for those kind words of support.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      im touched.. proud of you.. sad for you and then happy for you.. topsy turvy but you were swimmin'' bless you and your family ties :)

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Amen, Eric.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Thank you Rachael, I appreciate you taking time to read and for the kind thoughts.

    • RachaelOhalloran profile image

      Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

      We all go through some tough seasons, but hope springs eternal and springtime brings hope. I'm sorry for your loss and I'm glad to see you are forging forward once again.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Amen

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