Sometimes I wake up in the morning with words on the tip of my tongue, and I don’t always know where they came from. They might be the first sentences of a paper or sermon I’d working on; when that happens, it’s clear that my resting brain has identified the essence of a jumble of thoughts I was already having, and I accept it as pure gift.
But sometimes I’ve no idea where the thought came from, as this morning when I woke up to hear my inner voice saying, “Cultivate an attitude of joy.”
The attitude that most often inhabits my soul in this season of dying and letting go is a kind of wistfulness, a sadness that certainly is tinged with some joy at the beauty of the natural world as the leaves change color and fall, but this year there’s been more sadness than joy. I’m struggling with all the limitations of this pandemic, I’ll admit that, and I mention this not so much because I want your sympathy but because if you happen to be experiencing some struggles of your own I want you to know that you’re not alone.
This is not how I’d intended to spend this part of my life. This is not what I wanted to be doing with myself now. I apologize if it sounds maudlin but one of several motivations driving my decision to retire a year and a half ago was the feeling that none of us knows how much good time we have left. After years of letting my family support me while I was often absent to them as I pursued new and exciting opportunities I’d never imagined would be available to me in mid-life, it seemed time to be intentional about spending more of those remaining good years with my family. Now I wonder how much of me will be left when we’re finally free to emerge from isolation and resume some semblance of “normal” life.
“Cultivate an attitude of joy.”Continue reading