Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Now What?

So I have known this was coming for years but now it is here.  It is called retirement.  As I look at the word on the screen it seems to be describing something that happens at a tire recapping place.  You know, they take what is old and put an extra layer on the old tired tire and send it back out for for some extra miles.

Well I am waiting for the recap but first I am allowed to absorb the first stage of this retirement thing.  So you take the middle of the word and make it as a response to all those "congratulations" I have been hearing.  "Congratulations," for these past few weeks at first  felt strange. What am I being congratulated for?  Did I just win something but missed it?

O, you mean I get a chance to recover for maybe being tired after 45 years of being a preacher?  I read that this first stage of retirement is called "extended vacation."  So I am kind of enjoying my "vacation."  Trouble is I am never sure what day it is..really.  I was told the other day by a friend of mine who experienced the same thing a few years ago when he retired that in the morning when I go out to pick up the newspaper I need to start noticing the day.  Ah, I have just learned my first lesson in living in this new world and space.

I am told that where I am is called liminal space.  Liminal is described as that place and space between times and is present when major transitions happen.  This all sounds good and accurate but it is also true.  My markers have disappeared, at least for a while.

Everyday seems like Friday.  That used to be my day off.  No, it does not feel like Saturday because for 45 years Saturday was the day before Sunday.  It was a party day for most folks but preachers learn real quick not to party too hardy on Saturday or there will be hell to pay.  Did I just write that?  Hey, I am retired I can say that now, can't I.  Well the truth is I said it before just not as loud.

So I shall enjoy my extended vacation for a while and try not to make all these Fridays into some form of Groundhog Day.  I mean today I am sitting here just writing away not sure where this is going.  It is not like I have to have three points and a poem or make sure I stay true to the text.  Gosh, this is kind of fun.

If you are reading this it must mean you have at least some leisure time to read something that you do not have to read.  Hi  there.  Join me for a moment in a brief liminal break.

But if you are not yet at the recap place I must remind you that I just checked the morning paper and it is not Friday.  That is okay because I learned long ago that if you pay attention everyday is a gift.  I want to not retire from that reality. 

I am going to write some more now on this blog since I have time and space.  I am watching the birds outside my window just now.  I am not just glancing at them like I use to before I had to get up and get with it.  I am actually watching them.  I feel like that scene in the movie "Men in Black" when the aging agent gets ready to be zapped in order to wipe out his memory of years of fighting intergalactic monsters.  He looks at his partner, hands him the zapping instrument, and just before he loses his memory he looks up at the stars and says, "They're beautiful aren't they!"

For years he has been employed because of what those stars have produced in the form of the challenge of dealing with visitors from the stars.  Now he is going to be zapped and will get the chance to see the stars as stars.

So as one who has worked with people for 45 years and yes has dealt with lots of people problems I simply say I look forward to looking at you with a smile on my face and say, "You know you are beautiful." 

Zap, wow what a great Friday.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Rip Van Winkle

So I know that I have been preoccupied with this transition called retirement but what did I miss in all the pathos filled goodbyes and celebrations?  I feel like some Rip Van Winkle who has awakened into another world.

A man who yells all the time and is famous for the "you're fired" way of defining people is up for President of the United States.  He loves to build towers with his name imprinted on them and he seems to wants be in the wall building business in order to keep all kinds of people out.  He appears to love the sound of slamming doors in the faces of whole groups of people especially those who define themselves by praying five times a day.

He quotes scripture but does not know what it means.  It is not "two Corinthians Donald." But even so Evangelicals are lining up behind him and not turning the other check but turning off their vision so that they will not truly see him or through him.

One observer of human behavior states that our brains are that which processes information but our minds are that part of us that ponders the meaning of information.  So I simply state that many of us seem to be the product of a reality where our brains have lost their minds.

And by the way where are our souls?  Our soul is that part of the human being that realizes that we are of one substance and the product of one maker.  Soul is a unifying element that recognizes the dignity of others in spite of the surrounding atmosphere of fear and anger.  Have we lost our souls and our minds?

Yes, I know the other major candidate seems to arouse suspicion and mistrust but what are our choices going to be when it comes to the mind and soul of our country?  The ring of "everything changed after September 11" has in part drowned out the reality that some things should not change.  Fear cannot be our ruling master.  Categorizing people and then demonizing them in order to gain some kind of control is both shortsighted and mean spirited.

We need soul and a mindful kind of thinking in the face of complex issues.  In the movie, "Avatar," the indigenous people have a deep relationship to each other and the very soil upon which they walk.  When they want to be known and desire to know one another one person says to the other, "I see you."  To see is to acknowledge the kinship to nature and to each other. 

Have we lost our ability to "see" each other.  We now see categories and labels.  I hope we can regain our minds and take care of our souls so that our vision will allow us to see a hope filled future.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Well I turned in my keys and "Jody has left the building."  I am stepping into the strange land of retirement.  Where is the map? 

I have been doing this thing called ministry for 45 years and am not sure what the sign on the road means.  Is it a stop sign or a yield sign?  My eyes try to focus.  Maybe it is a "slow down sharp curve again." 

This is just a heads up that now I have some time to do some writing and pondering.  So I will add to my list to start blogging again.  Ah, the future is out there and I will gently step toward what it holds.