Morning Thoughts Intertwining With Retirement Thoughts

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Decades of getting up very early (4:15) to do the daily routine prior to the toil in the mines of academia or elsewhere, enjoying the morning hour quiet (and the late night quiet for that matter) to ruminate and plan and remember and compose…thinking how I’ll probably want to do the same when I leave the job, although maybe not quite so early.  Listening to the birds and the wind, watching what light and shadows and weather and insects and little mammals of the world can do and ever curious about what’s banging around in my own head…what sparks and tangents and weird intersections may be forming there when I least expect them.  Hoping, following my father’s suffering and so many millions of others, that no brain disease is setting in there while we are oblivious to it and blissful or bogged down with chores.  I have seen no indication of such as of yet, and I do try to keep my mind fresh, but exhaustion and stress are not beneficial, so I’m happy to be getting away from what can be a hectic rat race.  But I am not burned out, I’m pleased to say…just low on steam and drive at this point…just ready to shift down into another gear.  I am still very excited by tasks and projects and big and little ideas all over.  Hoping and wondering how much time I’ll have to get to places I want to see, and things I’m excited about doing, no skydiving or swimming with sharks, (and definitely no golf!) but invigorating nonetheless.  Contemplating how long the health, mental and physical, will not betray and tie me down…how long I’ll have left to go down  the proverbial bucket list… that gloriously fun checking off process.  I want to try to continue doing what I should to keep vital and on top of it…thrilled and amused by life and all that it entails.  It’s certainly how I feel now…not too worn down…and I want to fill each second with sensations and ah ha! moments and deep appreciation for life and love and the universe buzzing and swirling around me.  There is still so much to learn and accomplish.  I feel fine, and if not for the gray and the aches and pains that seem unavoidable, I’d say I was going on 30.  I still adore new things… or old things done in new ways.

I’m on the job today, again, but no one else is, hardly…so it is quiet and different.  A high school is rarely quiet.  And I was thinking about life a lot, because of the changes coming in mine, but also because my mother’s has rather suddenly become so troublesome for her.  She is 86, running out of energy and hope, though physically fairly well.  Lately she has had to cope with being off balance and dejected, and growing impatient and confused about it.  To the point in which she is pronouncing that she just wants to die.  That particular no-frills, cold as ice expression is hard for a child to hear his parent say…although it is definitely mitigated by her rich, full life and the number of years in which she has moved so many mountains and helped so many others, including all the duties in all those churches while running a home and raising children with such generous spirit, humor, and grace.    Nonetheless, we are in the midst of doing what society does now to cope with this…hospitalization with counseling and medication and visits and phone conversations all trying to raise her low spirits and provide a calming influence.  We all love her so, although she is not overwhelmed with visitors or cards…as she was when she was the active pastor’s wife those many years.  I’m struck by this lonely winding down that occurs, even for people like my mom who was always around others and so attentive to their needs, GIVING to them all that she could, very selflessly, true Christianity and kindness in action, and feel bad about how it is now, with her ‘shut away’ like this and very on her own.  I do wish geography and time constraints weren’t such major obstacles.

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