Tuesday, March 13, 2018

a day to return thanks...

Today's post is going to be hyper-personal. That may strike some as ironic given the freedom I've experienced since retirement. Others may wonder what types of constraints have been employed that make other postings less personal. A few who visit here from time to time will wonder why I am not musing about music or spirituality or the current chaos spurting from the wounded heart of the Oval Office. Oh well... today there are four things I want to note.

First, today is my daughter's birthday. She is a young (nearly middle aged) woman I cherish and respect. She is funnier and smarter than almost anyone else I know and I enjoy her company tremendously. I could write volumes about her insight and wit, the things I have learned from her life's journey, or the music she has turned me on to. But let it suffice to say that I give thanks to God for her now and always.

Second, it has been just 45 days since my official retirement. And what has been most liberating is the total absence of heart-stopping emails. That is to say, I closed down one email address a week after I left public ministry - and that ended the volume. But more importantly, when we officially drew a line in the sand, I also quit receiving notes from administrative types that used to offend and wound my soul. No need to belabor this point, but the anxiety attacks are gone. The loss of self-esteem has been resolved (our trip to Tucson REALLY made a huge difference.) And I don't dread opening emails any more like I did for the past 30 months. A few clergy friends have wondered if I am feeling grief about my new condition: well, grief is not the word that comes to my mind. Ecstasy is more like it because of this one fact alone. 

Third, all of a sudden my musical awareness has exploded into a vibrant cornucopia of sounds, grooves and styles. Just last week I wrote about losing touch with new musical trends. Well, that may have been true for the past three years, but not so any more. Creating a new band with Hal and Jon has opened my ears and my heart to what is happening all over the world - and it is thrilling. I am researching world music. I am practicing like I haven't in years. And I can't get enough of working with our new ensemble. Tomorrow, come hell or high water (or snow flurries as the case may be) I am headed to Connecticut for a morning session that will build on Sunday's 5+ hour groove.

And fourth, my heart grows closer to L'Arche Ottawa. I will head north later this month to share part of Holy Week with my new faith community. I don't know all the reasons why but my heart is aching to reconnect. During Holy Week I will have a chance to pray, participate in Holy Thursday's foot washing ceremony, and Good Friday's stations of the Cross before heading home. Jean Vanier has written that making certain that there is time to share meals and fool around with one another in ordinary life evokes the holiness of the ordinary. I get that in spades. 

There is so much to be thankful for on this day: last year at this time our precious grandson was close to death - and now he thrives. There were soon other family health crises that were terrifying to say nothing of the professional life decisions that would change all our lives. And now, thanks be to God, we all rejoice. It feels as soulful as this song from Susan Tedeshci: Midnight in Harlem.

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