Retirement vs. Recharging Batteries

It’s now been four months since my old job was terminated, and there have been many things happening in the interim. And some very complicated emotions.

So have I been idle? Oh-no-no-no-no… Things around the house which have been neglected are now fixed, and others are on the way to being fixed.

Am I in better shape, physically​? Unfortunately, no… My knees have restricted me from doing many things, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t ask others to help me get things done. And every one and all of you guys have my great gratitude.

And what about the Big R: Retirement? I don’t think so. At this stage of my life, it’d be like giving up. I still have this energy left in me to, as Max Lucado says, “…to make a big deal out of God”.

I think of the difference I’ve made in the places where I’ve worked, and the spark of Life is still alive and dancing within me.

On the other side of the spectrum, I was recently thinking about someone I know who had a “retirement party”, and used the opportunity to tell many stories about how he had inflicted his point of view on others, instead of listening to their life stories and putting an arm around them and accepting them for who they are.

I was saddened by the loss of opportunity: I heard someone who makes great claims about his faith, but had thrown away several chances to reflect Christ in his life by understanding people on a one-to-one basis. Yep, you go getting full of pride, watch out for what it does to you. So yeah, I lost a bunch of respect for the guy that day.

If I should ever have a ‘retirement party’, may some things be true:

  • It’s going to be some time in the future.
  • May I have made a difference in people’s lives.
  • May others be able to speak of me as a strong, quiet, and steadfast friend.
  • And may I have many more friends than I ever realized.

Let’s get back to the present: Here I am, nearing “retirement age”, and yet I still have an energy and drive to give to those things which God would wish me to do: enriching the lives of those with whom I work, making a difference every day with my work, being a friend and a deep resource for my employer, and being able to come home every day, knowing that I have made a difference in God’s world.

Meanwhile, the job hunt goes on: I have a couple opportunities: one, to East of me, and another to the North. The potential of both of these is literally exciting. Even at my age…

I know that God’s hand still rests upon me, and maybe he thinks I’m still useful.

I’m still energized. I’m still able. But most of all, I’m still God’s servant.

Let’s see where this goes.

I’m in for the ride, Lord; let’s go.

Don’t see this kind of thing, all that often: A Double Rainbow

This afternoon, we had weather of storm, nice, storm, nice, storm… You get the picture. Weather typical of where I grew up in Western Washington. But today brought a special reward: a clear double rainbow.

This is one of those things where the light has to be just right, and the contrast good enough for a camera to capture it.

It was invisible only moments later when the clouds to the Southwest parted and the Sun bought the primary rainbow into full brilliance.

And then it was all gone.

Transitory moments are part of our existence; they are a great part of what we are. THIS is why I am forever urging you to get outside, go outside, no matter what the weather; and just be a part of what is happening in Nature.

God created it all; he still beckons and says, “Look what I have to show you, my child”.

A Cowboy Version of Eggs in Purgatory

On a recent camping trip, I had the brilliant idea to use up one of the cans of chili in the cupboard – for breakfast!

Combine that with a couple of soft-fried eggs, and you get this “Cowboy” version of Eggs in Purgatory. It was so good that I grabbed the phone and made a quick snapshot:

Here’s all you need for two people:

  • 1 can of Dennison’s Chili (we like Dennison’s because it doesn’t taste ‘tinny’, and it tastes like real chili)
  • 4 eggs

Open the chili and get it heating in a pot. Add about a tablespoon of water to ‘loosen’ it just a bit so it won’t scorch on you while you cook the eggs. Fry the eggs until the white sets, then plate: Chili on the bottom, eggs on top. Toast is up to you; we found we didn’t need it because of the carbs in the chili.

This is a great one because it’s flavorful, and can go together on anything you brought to cook with.

Simple, quick, easy… say Grace and enjoy!

The birds have returned!

The last couple of nights, I’ve heard a Ring-Necked Pheasant in the upper meadow. Today, I saw him in the back meadow, looking along the fence, picking up seeds from the dead blackberries.

He reminds me of the ‘lot bell’ that we had where I was an Apprentice Mechanic: we had hoses strung across the lot, and the bell would ‘ding’ when a potential Customer drove in…

This particular pheasant shrieks whenever someone drives by on our dirt road. He kind of reminds me of a temperamental character who always yells, “Get off my lawn!”

Meanwhile, a couple nights ago, I saw a murder of crows, chasing an eagle. But the eagle, zooming along the edge of the Ravine, executed a powerful, graceful, and gorgeous wing-over maneuver that just took my breath away. And the murder of crows could not have a prayer of following the eagle.

Although they all objected loudly, they lost the eagle.

And tonight, the eagle came back to perch on one of our oak trees. The crows were still loudly in pursuit, trying to drive him off. You can always tell when there’s an eagle on the vicinity, from the caphocophany of the crows. Even so, I managed to grab a shot of him, waiting patiently for the crows to give him space.

He’s in the top of that spindly oak, and you can see the crows, giving him a hard time.

A few moments later, he flew off; the crows giving a half-hearted chase, as they knew they’d won. For the moment.

The cold and the rains may have finally let up, for a while. And the raptors have returned, hunting mice and voles; bringing a balance to life on the side of the mountain.

… and NOW the water heater…

Thinking back on it, the symptoms were all there: It started a week or so ago when I noticed the dishes weren’t getting dry. We have a Bosch dishwasher, which is very energy-efficient, cleans amazingly, and does not use a heated-dry cycle. (I researched dishwashers and posted the results here, about two years ago.)

But the dishes started coming out … damp.

And then I only halfway noticed that I had to have the shower valve quite a bit farther over toward ‘hot’. But still it didn’t set any flags (because I only halfway noticed).

But yesterday, my wife went to take a shower, and she said it was “cold”. I checked, and the water was only tepid. All the way over on ‘hot’. So I called the guys who put our new water heater in, some 13 years ago. The original one had failed, and we had finally finished our big remodel project and having a big party to celebrate. But wouldn’t you know it, the original water heater chose right then to fail. I called these guys, and they literally came right out. Within three hours, we had a new water heater and we had hot water again. And the party was a success.

So I called the same guys again. Turned out that they were just finishing breakfast, and didn’t yet have any calls for the day. So again, they were right out.

We were lucky this time: only a pair of dud thermostats, the elements all checked good. Within an hour the water heater was running again, and within an hour and a half (since it was dead cold), we had hot water.

Maybe I’m off work for a reason.

What I’m Giving up for Lent

I’m giving up ‘wrestling the 800-pound gorilla’.

Now before you start laughing at me, that “gorilla” represents my ties to my old job, my worries about getting another one, and my worries about letting-go of full-time employment and entering the tenous world of contracting work.

I feel that God is pulling on me to let go of the security afforded by a salaried job, and to REALLY start trusting him for just enough work to keep the bills paid. I am totally on-board with God that this is another time for major change in my life; just like it was to lose my job seventeen years ago. It was tough then, but maybe I’ve learned something in the intervening years.

Like trust.

When I can open my hands long enough to let go of this ‘gorilla’, I can feel a sense of liberation.

The thing is, I just have to let go long enough. But can I do it for forty days?