The holiday flurry has abated and the house is momentarily quiet. Two college age youth are still underfoot, but my dear one is back at work. I’m enjoying a lazy morning amidst the remanents of the holiday, plotting my tasks for the day and enjoying a space of leisure. In this place of grace it is tempting to reach for a more permanent state of retirement.
My intention in announcing my retiremement from ministry was to make space for the next growth place to emerge. Presumably this would be teaching mathmatics, a former career for which their is purported demand. While enjoying the zen of working problems this fall, I confess that many fields beckon while I perch in this place in between. Were it not for the effort of marketing oneself, I think that I would choose to sit at my desk by day and ponder at the keyboard. Writing platitudes with and without audiences, making images with words and seeing them come alive on the screen is bliss. Of the many past times I enjoy, this is the one most persistent. But were it an obligation? I do not honestly know.
Today I am aware that I am still on the clock at the church where I have served for the past sixteen years. I am on the front side of 3+ week vacation. When I remember that this is a vacation and that in 2+ weeks I am scheduled to return to the church, I feel anxious. The weeks following my retirement announcement were excruciating for me and the absolute inverse of what I had expected and needed. While I am exceedingly grateful to the elected leaders for their remarkable gracefulness and genuine friendship, the situation has stretched my last nerve so tightly that the slightest bump becomes a searing jolt. Pondering this truth brings it into clarity but not relief. The anxiety waits just on the other side of this peaceful morning.
My temptation, of course, is to make sweeping decisions to avoid the anxiety. Yet the peace that I seek lies beyond the quick fixes that appear so tantalizing. Beyond the fight and flight impulses, the reckless proclamations and the uncritical cling, only here will I find the path in which the light dances in patterns that my feet can follow. Tempted to build a tent in this place of solitude on an early January morning, I am timidly aware that the solitude in this particular place belongs only to this particular moment in time. The continued grace of this moment lies not in capture but conversely and perhaps ironically in openness.
The sun is clear this morning and too the path. For this one day I take a step in faith breathing deeply of all that is good and exhaling all that cannot be understood or controlled. Breathing in deeply the truth of this moment of grace, breathing out the doubt and clutter. Breathing in the hopefulness of this moment, and trusting in it’s goodness.