Retire, retired, retirement….When I read the definition of retire the word that catches me is withdraw. That word gives me an aha moment. Withdraw- to take back, to retreat. To take what back? To retreat from what? At this time and place I am taking back my sense of Being. Retiring from the incessant pressure to do in a world desperate for certainty and control. As I made this transition and shared it with people the question asked most often was, ‘What are you going to DO?” What’s next?” The answer I felt drawn to give was “Just BE. I’m just going to be. Wake and see where the day takes me.” Granted I have this opportunity because I’ve put in some time doing. Doing what is expected to get here. The real answer of what is next is to enjoy the Sabbath God provides, and know next will come along whether I’m ready or not. Other reactions to this transition have made me smile and reflect. One friend said, “You’re pretty young to be retired.” True. Another said, “Oh yeah, I know someone who retired early and was bored stiff within 2 months.” Sad. Retire doesn’t mean done living, or serving, or learning, or growing. At the end of the definition there is a brief line about winning permanent possession of (as a trophy). That is how I feel at this moment in time. I’ve won permanent possession of my God-given life, and as I retreat we’ll see what wonderful wilderness I end up in.
I have been barreling through life at break neck speed. Anytime anything happened that warranted grief I wrapped it up and put it on a shelf labeled “to deal with later”. It is finally later. I never fully understood loss and I don’t think I have ever really been capable of grief. Until now. Grief is not an emotion. It is a complex unraveling of an event or series of events in order to come to a place of understanding. I am letting go of something that is so intrinsically woven into the fabric of my being that it has been a slow, delicate surgery with no anesthesia to remove it. As the last pieces are peeled away from my core it dawned on me I think I am grieving. Looking back I think I have been grieving for awhile. The point at which the denial set in is not really clear, but this “thing” was clearly dead years ago. I clung to it like I was hanging on to a flotation device in open water. Anger has been a hornet’s nest that I kicked and just kept getting stung. Bargaining is sneaky, and I tried to make a million deals with it so I did not have to really face this. I found out that depression is a part of grief. This is not depression in the same sense of a person who suffers from depression. It is a subtle form of sadness, despair, dullness and apathy that soaks into flesh and bones and slowly sucks any remaining ounce of life out of the body and soul. I did not want to admit this feeling. Once I named it, a huge burden was lifted and energy is seeping back in giving fuel to my spirit. This thing that I am letting go of is just a thing, but everything I have been stock piling on that shelf labeled “to deal with later” tumbled down as I stacked this box on top. Acceptance hit me and whispered let go. Acceptance is the doorway to hope and healing. It is time to slow down. Take a breath. Let it all sink in and fully, completely grieve for a life I am done living.
I woke up thinking about healing. The definition of healing that I dig is growing sound. Grow- increase, mature, come into existence. Sound- free from damage, firm, solid. Healing is a process. Certain conditions must take place for healing to happen. Healing is also an abstract idea that encompasses more than the eye can behold. Two more thoughts came to my mind. At what age did I get the idea that I was no longer growing? I am now grown up. What does that even mean? I don’t know and have decided I don’t want to know. Instead I want to be healing or growing sound. Coming into existence free from damage. That is what I will reach for. That is a concept I can truly wrap my mind and heart around.