What caught my attention in particular in this discovery was how beautiful the residual lantern was with its delicate web of lines, defining the pod’s original shape, albeit without the accompanying beauty of its deep orange hue. I have found myself sitting in medical waiting rooms more often these days (I swear a switch is thrown when one turns 65…) and in the doing, often find myself looking at my hands. I confess I have not always been delighted with what I see. And so I have been wondering – why the different reaction to my own developing lines (unhappy) rather than the (delighted) reaction to the lines that have already developed in the aging lantern seed pod? I have been musing on this for some time. A search for quotations on line has been fruitful. Martin Buxbaum (who is he? I know not) suggests this: “Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty – they merely move it from their faces into their hearts.” Ralph Waldo Emerson (who I do know, although not personally) writes a similar thought but in poetic fashion: “As we grow old, the beauty steals inward.” I’m finding these thoughts helpful because I do believe that inside, we are ever and always the beloved person we were created to be.
The early mild weather following a similarly patterned winter continues to show itself in a variety of ways. This evening I mowed a part of my lawn, only 8 days after it was last cut. It was so long that the mower kept “coughing” – crying out for air when the blades were being suffocated by juicy grass clippings clinging for dear life. And our day lilies, typically a July attraction, are readying for their debut which I predict will be about two and a half weeks early. I hope this does not imply that fall will start early…
I have been absent from posting here longer than I might choose to be, but I just have not found the time and topic to sit down and write. And even as I do so now I am aware of how important it is for me to write (and am as well, grateful for those who take the time to peruse…) I am as you know on the cusp of retirement and that is a “both/and” proposition. I am both happy and sad; I am looking forward to retirement and I am a bit anxious about retirement. It seems I have never been retired before and that in itself prompts some dis-ease. Earlier today I was thinking about this and I thought about being born – when we have no idea of what we are getting into but recognize the environment as radically different, and about dying – when we know what we are leaving behind, and are not so sure about what lies ahead. There is anxiety that comes with these changes in our way of living or being.
My mind has been busy making lists: lists of things to pass on to my successor at the church; lists of the folks I visit and information that might be helpful to share; lists of topics to talk with church leaders as I leave about things that have been both good and rewarding and those things that have been frustrating; and ways that the newcomer might be spared at least some of those frustrations. I am writing notes to folks who have traversed my life’s path in this place by way of thanking and honoring them – to be sent after I leave. And I am struggling with how to say “goodbye” – in so many other instances in my life the goodbyes have been more along the lines of “see you sometime soon” than farewell. Because the new person will need time to build his or her own relationships with these people I need to “excuse” myself from regular contact with them, and let that new relationship take shape.
These are some of the odds ‘n ends on my mind lately…