I spend these retirement days doing a lot of thinking. I feel ripe to be reflective. I am ready to consider the truth in the raw. I am not fearless, but I am capable of taking a leap of faith. I want to know myself again. I want to understand my life and my purpose, and yes, what will be my legacy.
I know, these subjects are as vast as a winter sky, but still, I want to examine and explore this wide open territory.
First, I must admit, my life is nothing like I thought it would be. I can hardly tell it is my own. I often feel as though I orbit my life, and never quite land there. My feelings remain somewhat vague. My soul is a bit too shriveled. Not a great deal of spirit or spunk – as of yet. My whole belief system is quite brittle. I feel like one of those balsam wood gliders, as if a single flight could leave me shattered.
What did I expect? It is embarrassing. Naïve. Foolish. But, nevertheless, it is true, I expected really great things. I thought I would be thin and healthy as a horse, and still capable of hiking mile upon mile. Instead I am obese and have bad knees.
I was certain I would be well respected, even beloved, and adored. I believed I would be well known. Prominent. Of spiritual magnitude and power. I would be a somebody noticed. Somebody to whom others would pay rapt attention. I thought I would be heralded as a great preacher, a phenomenal teacher, and a writer of distinction.
I know, pretty damn grandiose. Still, it was what I long believed was my calling and destiny. I guess to some degree, my dreams have come true. However, the fundamental truth is that I am now vividly aware of my own insignificance, and what a tiny dent I have made. I do not consider myself a failure, or a loser, I just have a new appreciation for my own flaws and failings.
It is ironic, but with all this forced humility, I have come to a far deeper awareness of the value of others, and a genuine respect for the significance of little things. I am not only far more content these days, but a good deal calmer. I am letting go of my bloated expectations. I have popped the balloon of my own importance, and in the process I have discovered a far deeper and healthier reliance on God.
These days, I like being only accountable to God. I refuse to ask if I am popular or powerful or prominent. I have surrendered my obsession with Self, and am striving to experience Life on God’s terms – not my personal polling numbers. I just do not trust how the culture sees me. More so, I don’t care much anymore. I wish to make a difference, but in the eyes of my Creator.
I am so much less than I ever believed I would be. My accomplishments seem so tiny and unimportant. My reputation of no great note. My legacy quite simple and yes, quite small. I have touched a few lives with some genuine love and compassion, and that is it, and that is enough.
Don’t get me wrong. My ego still rears its ugly head a few times a week. I still find myself being defensive or trying to prove a point, or seeking to stand out. However, I quickly go back to what I now know to be the truth. I just try to live in a manner which is reflective of the Grace of God.
I don’t believe the world has either a fondness or an understanding of Grace. It isn’t competitive enough. It lacks harsh judgment. There are no winners or losers. There are no rankings. There is no punishment. There is no reward other than the Grace itself. There is nothing to show off or claim or even name. Just our own happiness, I guess. Our contentment. Our sense of calm.
So here I am. Retired. A morsel of a man. And yet, I matter. I am an instrument of Grace on some splendid days. I daily witness the wisdom and beauty of the earth. I feel called to love, and God shouts at me to forgive. It is all so simple, and all so small. So wonderfully focused and manageable.
People say “good things come in small packages,” and that is so very true of the human soul. When we are at ease, and focused, and grounded in Grace, we are capable of enjoying a day ourselves, and miraculously, of making someone else’s day.
It is quite a little power we possess. A day. A whole day. Not time to spend or waste or kill or find or buy, but just 24 lovely hours to be a beloved child of God. Imaginative and curious. Wide eyed and open hearted. Child-like in spirit, and mature in soul. Being a human is the will of God.