July 14, 2021
Today I was at a meeting of sojourners brainstorming about offerings we could make… in prayer… healing ministry… racial reconciliation… lectio life… and on and on to the point my head was spinning and my heart was firing up. Most of the people in the room I did not know, or if I knew their names, I did not know them well. Honestly, I wondered why I was there.
I am retired. I like to go to the river. Or read in the back yard. I told somebody today that I see myself as a free agent for the Lord. A toad in the middle of the room… parsing wisdom and guidance and affirmation to anyone who came for help. Silly me. Who thinks that’s a life strategy?
As we were brainstorming around the table a woman whom I had never met before asked me about retirement and what was my plan for the next years of my ministry. Well… I am full of complaint. Aches. Fatigue. Stamina problems. Balance issues. Yada yada. Hells Bells, what do I expect at 75? I thought about Stevie Nix.
Several years ago Tom and I had tickets at Greensboro Coliseum to see Rod Stewart and Stevie Nix in concert. I love Rod Stewart for all the old rock and even more for his soft renditions of classic love songs. Fleetwood Mac was a band in my children’s music generation. I loved their music. I especially loved Stevie Nix. My favorite song of hers is Landslide.
I was reminded of Landslide last Sunday at a Family Celebration at the church. I heard it sung and sang along as best I could. The lyrics rose up in disjointed phrases: “Well I’ve been afraid of changing… but time makes you bolder and children get older… and I’m getting older too.” Aging is new to me. And to have a spirit and a heart and a passion and a love of God and a love of life that out runs the capacities of a 75 year old body is…pardon me, a real pisser. So what is a person to do?
Self-awareness, when it comes, crashes down like a landslide. When we “see our reflection on the snow-covered hills,” we can run and hide. Or we can meet the landslide head on. I cannot do all things; but I can do some things. I can handle some responsibility; but I cannot hold the weight of the world. I can adapt to new realities and I am willing to make a fool of myself. I am called to love and serve God, my neighbor and all creation. I pray I will, on the ride down the mountain, “do all the good I can, by all the means I can, in all the places I can, at all the times I can, to all the people I can, for as long as ever I can.” (thanks, JW.)
Saying “yes” to life is a choice we make every day till our days on earth are over. I give thanks that a few hours in the company of sojourners seeking to make the world a better place reminded me of that.