Dark Night of the Soul

My prayer tonight has been to find a reason to live beyond my children, my grandchildren, my husband and ministry.  To understand this you have to know that I have always wanted to be a mom and homemaker.  I never desired a job really that put me out in the workplace.  Yes…here I am.  I took myself off facebook today because I look sometimes a hundred times a day to see what my children are doing…to hear what my grandchildren are doing and saying.  That’s not healthy.  I had unrealistic expectations that in these golden years we would be full…full of Sunday dinners, full of children, full of love and connection and friendship and need of us…of me.  There is none of that.  So now I need to find my new peace state where I am happy with myself and with my life.  I need to find my reason for living.

At first I thought…well, Allen and I have been together 40 years – 37 years married – so it should be him.  But…what if he goes first?  My reason would have just left the earth.  I have to be okay with me.  I have to put into my soul.  I have always been the one to put into others, to call and set a time to get together, to text and message.  One of my greatest disappointments in life has been that people don’t seem to like me.  I am not sure what I do or don’t do…but I will never be the one in that group of women laughing and having dinner with and shopping with other women.  I have to be okay with that.  I need to continue to be here for others, but I also have to take care of myself.  I’m not sure what that even looks like because taking care of myself was always in taking care of others.  But now I’m empty.  My soul is pretty dark and shriveled up right now.  Life looks dark and uninviting.  I miss my kids.  I love them so much and they will never know the depths of my grief over them until we get to Heaven.

So these are my thoughts tonight.  I am not sure where this journey will take me.  But I know I have to take it to survive.  My dark night of the soul has been so long…I never struggled really knowing my place in college or beyond…it was mapped out for me.  But now the map is meandering and not defined.

I can’t tell you where I’d be if I didn’t know Jesus.  He is the foundation and the only reason I have stayed this long.  I hope I please Him even now as I struggle and wish things were different.

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Merry Christmas 2017

December, 2017

Dear friends and family,

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! This past year has certainly been an eventful one. Like any year it has had its high and low moments, but we are confident that in all of these things God is at work. I am reminded of the words of Hebrew 13: 5 which says, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” I can say honestly that I had expected to be part of a growing church as a staff member by this stage of life but apparently that was not part of God’s design for us. Instead, I am being repurposed. At this writing, I am about a third of the way through a master’s degree that will allow me to become a licensed professional counselor. I am on target to graduate from Liberty University in the spring of 2019. In the meantime, I am counseling and performing assessments one day a week for The Summit Church in Kernersville as well as maintaining my position at Aflac and working ten hours a week at the Rankin Baptist church in Greensboro as their music director. The work feels rather scattered, but I am grateful for it.

Al and Darleen

Darleen, my rock, and faithful sweetheart continues to work as a customer service representative for Texwipe in Kernersville. As most of you know, her sacrifice and willingness to work full time are what have made my return to school possible. In the midst of her busy work life, she finds time to make hats for everyone and his brother’s cousin. In addition, she also finds crafty ways to bless our grandchildren and various other friends who make requests for quality homemade gifts. Darleen has continued her work as a lay counselor at The Summit Church. She has, in the opinion of the counseling pastor, become one of the most effective counselors in the lay counseling program. Needless to say, I am very proud of her and her accomplishments.

JON

Jonathan continues to make his way through the educational landscape of college. He is doing well as a Computer science major at UNCG in Greensboro. Like me, his graduation will take place in the spring of 2019. Needless to say, we are already planning a huge celebration. He currently works at the Union Cross Park for the Forsythe County Parks and Recreation Department. However, his desire is to find interim work in a company that will allow him to gain experience as an IT professional.

Candace

Candace is living near Ben and Amanda in Reading, Pennsylvania. She is working for Target as a beauty consultant. The position was created especially for her. She is told that the sales in that department have increased a great deal since she took over. That isn’t surprising since she is knowledgeable regarding beauty products and adept at sales. This weekend she took a step towards autonomy by moving to her own apartment.

 

Daniel and Sonya live in Northern Ireland with two of our beautiful granddaughters. Dan is close to completing his internship as a baker. Please pray that God will open the opportunity for him to be full time at the bakery where he works. Pray also that God would provide opportunities for ministry for he and Sonya. In the meantime, God has blessed Sonya with work in the medical community. Arianna is four and Maya is 1 ½.  They both keep their parents on their toes.  From time to time we are blessed to be able to send packages to them through Darleen’s boss who goes to Ireland twice a year.  That has been such a blessing.

Noah and Caleb

Ben and Amanda are preparing to add grandchild number ten to the growing ranks of the Bacon Nation. Aaron is due to be born sometime between now and January 8th. Noah has begun Kindergarten and loves it. Caleb began preschool this year as well. Both boys are flourishing in their new educational environments. Ben is continuing his work as a behavioral analyst for a school that serves high functioning autistic children. As of this fall, he is also being loaned out by his school to other schools who have autistic children and are in need of training. The ever-industrious Amanda has started a company of her own called “Fairytale Journeys.” She is, in effect, a travel agent for Disney. So, if you are planning a trip to the Magic Kingdom, be sure to drop her a line.

Mackie family

Carolyn and Cameron are busy working and raising two children of their own. Carolyn works as a customer service representative for Dedon, a high-end furniture company. Recently she has been promoted and is periodically traveling for the company. Cameron, the ever steady, continues to work in the seed company that was started by his stepfather. The company has sold, but Cam still supervises and is in charge of ordering and all sorts of other things. Hayden has grown so much that he is no longer the little boy that we once knew. He is in the 5th grade and doing well in school. Chloe, our little spark plug continues to entertain us with her toddler sense of humor and antics. There is never a dull moment with her around. Grammy and I enjoy the weekly visits from Hayden and the occasional opportunities to watch them both overnight.

Russell family

Mark and Christie are doing well in the frozen tundra of Vermont. They moved into a house of their own this last year. Mark has been busy fixing and learning the fine art of being a homeowner. He is now firmly entrenched at Cabot creamery as the guy who makes the yogurt. So, support the family and buy a little Cabot Cheese. Mark has also gone back to school to finish his bachelors degree. Christie is going 100 miles an hour as usual. I think she may be like her mother in this way. She works in the office for Union Baptist Church. I am told that she is an integral part of the office staff. She also still homeschools her children which is a full-time job all on its own.  Evelyn is in 2nd grade, Miles in Kindergarten and Elyanah keeps mom busy on the side.

We hope your festivities this Christmas are memorable and sweet and your New Year is filled with much more good than bad in 2018.  We wish we could spend the holidays with each one of you!

God Bless,

Allen, Darleen and Jonathan

Bacon

 

My Son, Dan

The other night while lying in bed my husband and I were talking about the upcoming birthday of our son, Dan.

We haven’t seen Dan for 4 1/2 years because he is living in Northern Ireland with his family.  But each year around the holidays and his birthday we often reminisce.  Dan was our fourth child and 2nd boy.  He was my biggest baby, but quickly settled into being the tiniest of little guys…at least till he hit his growth spurt sometime around his twelfth year.

Dan was such fun as a little guy.  He was full of vim and vigor and was such a happy baby.  One morning shortly before our fifth was born, Dan had crawled into bed with my husband and I and we took turns tickling him and making him squeal.  I remember that morning so vividly because we wondered aloud how we could every love another baby as much as we did Dan.  We knew we could because we already loved three others, but sometimes there are those moments when everything seems right in the world and you are just happy.  That was one of those moments.

As Dan grew older he took on more personality.  He was an old soul…loving music from Frank Sinatra’s era.  He worked several paper routes for the Caledonian Record while we were in St. Johnsbury, VT, and worked so hard at getting new customers that he won a trip to Disney World with the paper.

Dan used to ride his bike all over town.  One time I went into a hardware store and the man asked if I was Daniel’s mom because he was so impressed that he had ridden his bike down to buy a rake so he could make money raking people’s lawns.  He went through a duct tape stage at one point in his teenagerhood.  He ended making wallets and purses and eventually made himself a coat.  It was too cool.

He went through a duct tape stage at one point in his teenagerhood.  He ended making wallets and purses and eventually made himself a coat.  It was too cool.

Dan sang.  A lot.  When he was little he would sing so loud in church that people would turn around a smile.  He had a joyful heart and it was a joy to hear him sing.  Often as I was getting breakfast or school things ready in the morning I would hear him…and know he was awake because the music started.  I loved that about mornings.

So now as he turns another year older very far away from us…I am thankful for the years we had with him.  He was a good boy and he became a good man, husband and father.  Happy birthday, Dan.

 

Not Yet, Not Fully, Not Finally

I’m struggling again tonight because life seems to have left the happy behind so there’s very little happy anymore.  I remember when I was young thinking how “old” old people were who constantly looked back to happier days.  I didn’t understand.  I do now.

I loved my child rearing days.  I was good at it…very good.  I raised respectful sweet natured children who were the envy of those who didn’t know us in restaurants (more than once someone came by to tell the children how well behaved they were) and of those who did know us well.  The children were hard workers and knew how to relate to adults as well as other children.  I always chalked that up to home schooling, but maybe it was that we expected obedience and respect and made sure it reigned in our home.

Now it is hard to be around children.  They are disrespectful and out of control.  When I see a child genuinely happy and being good…I am drawn to them … because it is a rare sighting.  I don’t blame the children.  I blame the parents…too busy schedules so they don’t have the strength to discipline well…bought into the lie that getting things for their kiddos makes them better and have a better childhood…too involved in having more so that their first priority isn’t raising good members of society and most of all not following God on how to raise their children and making sure they are being taught the Word daily.

I read the Word to my children every morning before we started school.  Did they always follow it?  No.  I have sinner children just like everyone else, but I have to believe it made an impact on their lives because I believe God when He says His word never comes back void.

I’m sad tonight because there is little to no relationship with most of my family on either side.  I thought when I raised six children that I was raising my family that I would have relationship with; but that hasn’t been the case.  When my children struggle or hurt they don’t come to me.  I have a hard time understanding this because I didn’t have a mom or dad to go to…they were gone by the time I was 19.  I have tried to be there for them…maybe I was too easy on them…especially as they got older and made bone-headed mistakes.  One of them told me I should have been more involved during the bone-headed time; but how do you gauge that when they have made it clear they are adults and don’t need you anymore?

So….I’m disappointed in these years.  It seems like all my fun is over.  There doesn’t seem to be a point in life or purpose.  I thought I would be a big part of my grandchildren’s lives, but I’m not.  Most of them don’t really want me around.  I don’t have Jesus to share with them because either I am too far away or they don’t want to go.  What’s the point in life if you can’t share Jesus?

To add insult to injury I see other families way involved with each other.  They call and cry and love and share.

I have often hung onto the scripture that if you give up your life for Jesus your family will be His family…that hasn’t been the case either.  Oh, I now it isn’t over yet.  My pastor preached about Not Yet, Not Fully, Not Finally.  In other words…it’s not over until the fat lady sings…and she ain’t singing. It made a lot of sense.  I just need to take it to heart and gain some hope from it.

 

 

“New”

I saw something the other day flash up on my facebook page.  It was a homemade meme sent because I follow a particular ministry (rethinking this one).  I don’t remember the exact words, but it said something like, that the new year wasn’t new and it was just another day…there was nothing new..you know the drill. It has spurred me on to take a look at the word “new” in the Word for 2017. My first thought was that God’s grace is new every morning. Praise Jesus!

I think in a way the “new” year gives us an opportunity to rethink the last year and go over the good, the bad and the ugly.  It gives us opportunity to also think ahead to the future and hope and dream and even make resolutions if that is what you like to do.

What I find each year is that the last year went faster than ever and often just carried me along with it.  You know what I’m saying, right?  Work, clean, sleep, eat, work, clean, eat sleep.  When I’m tired I’m not purposeful.  I think living a purposeful life is wonderful.  I haven’t felt like I could do that…ever really…as a young mom I was carried from one emergency to another as we dealt with situation after situation with child after child.  It sounds horrific when I put it like that but it was a blessed time for me.  There was much laughter and even though each child remembers their childhood differently so far as the good, the bad and the ugly…I will always cherish those years.  Now, as an almost empty nester…I find myself working a full-time job…and with my health struggles having very little time to be purposeful at all.It’s probably one of my most prevelant disappointments in myself is that I run out of umph before I should.

I digress.  “New” is something I have always looked forward to.  As the seventh child I had a lot of “old” new things.  But Christmas, Easter, birthday and the first day of school I could count on something new.  I remember picking out some pretty awful outfits for the first day of school (orange one year and hot pink another)…some day I’ll get brave enough to find the pictures and attach them for you. :/

I think each of us in our own way long for something new…not necessarily for material things, but a new love, a new relationship, a new true friend, a new page, a new chapter, something different from the humdrum of life that makes you want to scream running from it so often.

Genesis 27:28 seems to be a blessing…kind of like something you’d pull out of a Chinese proverb or something…only grander because it’s God’s wisdom and now ours. It’s part of Isaac’s blessing to Jacob (which he stole from Esau I may add) “May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness— an abundance of grain and new wine.”  I just looked up why “new wine” is so important here.  It speaks of wine that is from that year…sweet wine.  He’s saying may you always have enough so you don’t have to drink old wine and grain from years past.  I like that.  May we all have enough…he speaks of abundance here…maybe to share with others.  That’s a wonderful blessing and hope for your child…for everyone.  May you always have enough, son…daughter…and have enough to share with others in need.

What a wonderful “new” year that would be.  To not just have plenty to spend on me and mine…but to have enough and then share with others.  May that be your new “new” this year as well.

Happy 2017!

Merry Christmas Epistle 2016

christmas-nativity-background-images-simplechristmas17

Bacon Christmas Epistle

Christmas 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Every year I sit down to write our Christmas letter and wonder where the year has gone.  It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in the New Year and wondering what 2016 would hold for us.

In January we were blessed with a visit up to VT to see Christine, Mark, Evelyn (6), Miles (4) and meet little Elyanah(1) who was just over a month old.  Mark still works for Cabot Cheese making yogurt; but has started back to college for his IT degree at the locelyanah1al community college.  Christine is still working part time for Union Baptist Church as a secretary and homeschools Evie (1st grade) and Miles (Preschool).  She also is a teacher for Classical Conversations… their home school group.  We had a wonderful visit from them this past week when they came down to NC.  It is much too far between visits for our druthers; but that is the hand life has given us for now.
russells  miles  evelyn

Carolyn, Cameron, Hayden(10) and Chloe (1) live about ten minutes or so down the road in Winston, NC. Carolyn has been working as a Customer Service Representative for Nederman; but just gave her notice in the last couple of weeks.  She has a new job with Dedon, a company in Greensboro where they make high end lawn furniture.  She is excited to be working for a company that is growing and healthy.  Cameron works at Green Resource still although the company has changed hands so it is no longer owned by his stepdad.  Hayden is in fourth grade.  He changed schools this year due to their move late last year; but he seems to be doing great despite the move.  Chloe is doing well after her rough start.  She’s a little behind physically (she can’t eat things most children her age can because of her having to learn how to swallow the food to make it go through the right tube).   She is very close to walking and is ahead verbally and with her fine motor skills.  It’s been fun to have a little one around again.

mackies  care-and-cam

chloe  hayden

Benjamin, Amanda, Noah (5) and Caleb (2) live in Oley, PA.  Ben changed jobs after he received his Board Certification as a Behavior Analyst and is now working for Hogan Learning Academy with autistic children and their families.  He loves his new position and it affords him opportunities for advancement and personal enrichment. Ben also preaches from time to time in his church and heads up the small group ministry there as well. He continues to train and run as many Spartan races as he can get to.  Amanda continues with her online business Measurements By Amanda and taking care of the home and the boys as a stay at home mom.  Noah is in his 2nd year of preschool and loves it.  Caleb is potty training and following brother around.  They just adopted a puppy named Chase (much to the chagrin of Zoe the cat) which makes this season extra special for two little boys.  We had the wonderful blessing of going to Disney with Ben’s family in September for three days.  We hadn’t been there since we sang in 1980 in the Collegians at the park.  I think we spent ½ a day back then so this was a special treat to share with them.

bens-family noah-and-calebchef-mickeys

noah-and-chase caleb-chase caleb noah

Daniel, Sonya, Arianna (almost 3) and our newest grandbaby, Maya (born July 12th) live in Armagh, Northern Ireland.  Dan is in his 2nd level of internship with The Cake Shop learning how to be a master baker.  We don’t get to Skype as much as we’d like to with Dan’s family; but they are never far from our minds.  We are hoping that someday we will be able to meet Arianna and Maya.

maya1 dans-family arianna

Candy and Joe also live about 10 or 15 minutes from us.  They moved into their home last year and have enjoyed having everyone over to entertain different times throughout the year.  Candy works from home selling used items on Ebay.  She makes a pretty good living going to all the Goodwills and thrift shops around to find what she can to make a profit on.  Joe helps her on the off season with the Ebay business and they both continue with their Landscaping business “The Yard Nerd” during Spring-Fall months.  They adopted two kitties this year, Pollyanna and Penny, which has been a joy to both of them.  Candy still sings at church and has also started singing with a rock band in the area.  She is active as a youth leader with her church as well.

joe-and-candy2 joe-and-candy polyanna

polly-and-penny candy-and-joe

 

Jon has had a rough year in that his college, ITT Tech, was closed down by the DOE just six months before he would have graduated.  He has taken some time off to regroup and has had a stellar attitude throughout it all considering most if not all of his credits he took while he was there will probably not transfer to his next school.  He is currently working for the County of Forsyth at the Parks Department.  He is working maintenance and hosting groups for the Union Cross Park just down the road from Carolyn’s home.  Jon continues to go to church with me (Darleen) which I am so thankful for.  We have a lot of discussions as a family as to what God has for him and how He is working in his life.  We are so thankful to have had this time with him on the other end of parenting since he often got the short end of the stick when we were so busy with the teenagers during his formative years.

kylo-ren-stare-down                                                   jon  best-wookie-mates

As for Allen, he had sinus surgery last spring and saw some improvement.  It’s been a rough fall, but so far no prednisone so that is definitely a plus.  He continues selling AFLAC and leading the choir at Rankin Baptist Church.  This fall he made a huge leap into the adventure of starting on his Master’s Degree in counseling online with Liberty University.  We truly wondered if he would get through his first semester which included 3 courses (one of which was statistics); but God was faithful and he finished with a wonderful GPA.  He is now just finishing up his second semester with Ethics in Counseling and has close to a perfect score.  I am so proud of him for going for something at this time in our lives.  We had talked about this when we were in VT…the possibility of him going back to school; but in the transition of the move and reinventing our lives we thought it was just a pipedream.  Now, God is bringing it into reality.

papa-and-chloe  grammy-chloe  castle-pic-with-mom-dad-and-jon

I still work at Texwipe as a CS Rep.  I attend church off and on with Allen at Rankin Baptist, but in order to continue to lay counsel I keep up my attendance at The Summit Church.  I have been so blessed to counsel many ladies this year in many different areas of struggle.

Allen and I celebrated our 35th anniversary in May and Carolyn threw us a surprise party bringing in Al’s folks, Allen’s sister Cindy and her husband, Brian, my sister and brother-in-law, Faith and Walt, and Allen’s cousin’s family who live in NC.  It was an 80’s theme which was fun and we truly enjoyed the surprise.  I didn’t know my children could lie to me so readily without remorse. Lol

For those of you who actually made it to the end of this letter, congratulations.  It is truly an epistle. Lol  We love you and think of all of you often.  We don’t see or hear from you enough…but you are in our hearts…especially during the holidays.  One thing I am continually being reminded of in my counseling is that there are so many hurting people out there.  Be a blessing.  If you are hurting, find someone to talk to…don’t try to go it alone.  People really do care and you really do have a purpose.  We all need each other.

May God bless you and yours with the holiest of Christmases and the brightest of New Years in 2017.

We love you all,

The Bacons

Allen, Darleen and Jon Bacon

1366 Claxton Ridge Drive

Kernersville, NC 27284

336-257-9384 (Al)

336-257-9136 (Dar)

Allen.dar@gmail.com

Allenbacon78@gmail.com

Dark Nights Of The Soul -Thomas Moore

“And so we are left with a great battle, not between good and evil, but between really living and just pretending.  Both the righteous and the evil avoid life.  They don’t have the subtlety to understand that good and evil are the yin and yang of existence. Anyone passionate about life is neither all good nor all evil.”

“Perhaps the dark night comes upon you from inside or outside to wake you up, to stir you and steer you toward a new life.  I believe this is the message of most religions, and certainly it is the gist of Christianity and Buddhism.  Your dark night may be a bardo, a period of apparent lifelessness that precedes a new birth of meaning.  Maybe your dark night is a gestation, a coming into being of a level of existence you have never dreamed of.  Maybe your dark night is one big ironical challenge, just the opposite of what it appears to be– not a dying, but a birthing.”