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.
The snow has been plentiful this season. Myriad individual flakes piled up to create a fluffy blanket.
Bitter cold created sparkling white glitter. While warmer temperatures brought snowcone slush. Gravity worked on the moisture, forming delicate daggers dripping so slowly that my camera could not catch them.
Observing the snow changing made me aware of transformation. Transformation: a thorough or dramatic change in appearance or form. Water takes many forms and appearances. Vapor, Clouds, Flakes, Slush, Ice …
Although it takes on many forms in many different places, over 95% of the water found on earth is found in the ocean. I have felt the fearful joy of being completely immersed by this seemingly infinite amount of water. It was an experience that reinforced my insignificant, significance on this planet. It was the place I felt most connected to the whole while realizing I am only a minute player in the grand scheme.
The snow transforming made me think about my own transformation. From an innocent babe with soft skin; to a kiddo who’s skin had to toughen up; to a young lady who wore her heart on her sleeve and wondered why it got broken. Now I am at a new stage in my life. I see the laugh lines around my eyes which remind me of all the good times. There are more stray strands of silver streaking my hair. They are a vivid reminder that my time here is limited.
I feel compassion creeping into my soul as I live through more experiences and relate to the struggles we all go through. Maybe the real reason I am focused on transformation is because I am staring a birthday in the face. I welcome the coming year knowing that just like water is transformed by forces greater than it, my next transformation is inevitable and will be driven by forces greater than me. It is this awareness that keeps me in the present moment able to appreciate the beauty of nature and the passion of life.
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.