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.
My Grandmother’s name is Jeanette but we call her Buddy. Everyone calls her Buddy. They have called her Buddy for most of her life. When I examine this wonderful woman’s life, I see a vessel spilling over with joy. My memories of her are warm smiles, bubbly laugh, hugs and a work ethic that amazes me even now that she is in her 80s. She still volunteers at the hospital and cares for all the people in her life when she can.
My Grandmother and I are wrapped in a bond that I cannot quite describe. When I experience a traumatic event I rely on her Faith. Although she is not physically with me, I draw her strength into my being and know I can handle anything. This bond makes me understand more each day that the spirit and spunk that is part of me was passed from my Grandmother to my Mom and then to me.
My Grandmother is generous, loving and kind. She is also a woman who is opinionated and direct. I think she might have the ability to grant eternal forgiveness or curse those who do not adhere to the tenants that the God I was raised with demands of us. My Grandmother taught me truth when it comes to religion and a spiritual life. We must follow and set the example in lieu of worshipping and putting on pomp and circumstance. I love that she is a devout Catholic in a true sense of who Jesus would want all of us to be. I love that her devotion has touched my life helping unite me and a God that I understand in my daily life. As my Grandmother, my Blessed Buddy, reminds me, This Too Shall Pass. Time is a gift that God bestows upon us, an infinite endless eternal moment and a life that happens in the blink of an eye. If there is one lesson I carry with me from my Grandmother it is this-
Celebrate life wherever you find yourself with whoever is with you, and know that we are infinitely loved even when God throws us a curve ball. My Grandmother has definitely experienced plenty of those and walked through them with grace. Her laugh rings in my ears and my heart. I thank God for her every day and the love that we share. My life is truly blessed because of Buddy.
I walk by this gardenia multiple times during my work day. I always take a moment to inhale its intoxication. I instantly feel content and at peace with whatever is going on in my day. It has become my secret love. This is fitting since secret love is one meaning for gardenia. I would never own one to grow in my home. Gardenias are too fickle for me. My experience with them is droopy, dingy flowers, bud drop and spider mite infestations. My opinion may be lightening up a bit with the spell this one has cast over me, and a story a friend relayed to me. She said her gardenia blossoms made more than one appearance. She purchased the plant in bloom and when the first show was over, more buds popped up and popped open. The leaves on her plant are a rich, shiny green just as they are meant to be. Hers sits in indirect bright light on a pebble filled tray to boost the humidity. And she mists it. As far as I am concerned, misting is an act of pure love and commitment when it comes to a plant. Although her story gives me immense hope, I will continue to admire and smell my secret love until some unsuspecting fool falls for it and takes it home. There will be a sense of loss when this happens, but I heard the greenhouse manager ordering a new plant shipment the other day. I am sure there will be a heart-breaker in the mix. A beauty that catches my eye, a new secret love to stop me in my tracks every time I walk by.