Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Blessings of Retirement

"May I have the courage today
to live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.
~John O'Donohue

When you become a certain age, every time you go to doctor's office they have a list of questions they are required to ask and one of them is if you are retired.  Now I hardly ever see the doctor and I would never see them if I didn't have allergies.  I became so tired of being asked that same question, that one day a woman called to confirm an appointment, she cheerfully asked "Are you retired?"  I said, "What does that mean?  What does retire mean? Can you tell me?"  I said. "How do I answer that?  Sometimes I'm working and sometimes I'm not."  I think I probably said something like "Are you asking if I am having fun yet or if I am isolated and secluded?" The poor woman probably didn't know what to say.  Seriously, though, what does it mean to be retired?  Some synonyms for retired are cloistered, covert, hidden, isolated, quiet, remote, secluded, secret and sheltered. One dictionary defines retired as "quiet and secluded; not seen or frequented by many people."  Maybe they should just start asking if you are working right now.  Honestly, we all just get lumped together by our age.  Maybe someone was listening that day because I haven't been asked that question in a while.

Anyhow, I came across this the other day.  It is a poem written by John O'Donohue and it is from his book To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings.  I have this book but for some reason when I read it this time it seemed to touch a deeper place.  I thought I would share it here.

The Blessings of Retirement

"This is where your life has arrived,
After all the years of effort and toil:
Look back with graciousness and thanks
On all your great and quiet achievements.

You stand on the shore of new invitation
To open your life to what is left undone;
Let your heart enjoy a different rhythm
When drawn to the wonder of other horizons.

Have the courage for a new approach to time;
Allow it to slow until you find freedom 
To draw alongside the mystery you hold
and befriend your own beauty of soul.

Now is the time to enjoy your heart's desire,
To live the dreams you've waited for,
To awaken the depths beyond your work
And enter into your infinite source."

~~John O'Donohue

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