Looking Forward

“Remember me with smiles and laughter, for that is how I will remember you all. If you can only remember me with tears, then don’t remember me at all.” Laura Ingalls Wilder, the late American author.

Our lives have depth and suffering. We have obstacles that find us pushing uphill. At the same time, silliness, laughter, and smiles sprinkle the days of our journey.

Sitting here today pushing 78 in a few months, I notice many of those “obituaried” never outdistanced me. I attempted to be remembered with some lightness in penning my memoirs.

The value of a wide-brimmed, beaming smile is incalculable as with its sibling belly laughter. May you and I be remembered by God’s grace with some of that lightness besides the tears.

Glancing at Where We Have Been

It was 1977. Kristine and I met and married in the last nine months of the year.

Two unique movies that year would later produce multiple, top-draw sequels, Rocky and Star Wars. I sat there watching Star Wars and just did not get it. Kris did love the film as did millions of others

Rocky I understood. It was about overcoming people’s expectations. It was a beautifully crafted film.

But those were only films. Reality is a far cry from filmdom

Today, 45 years later, we are blessed with the ultimate appeal, loving God and following His lead. He turned our life around for the first time 38 years ago. There isn’t anything even close that Kris and I have ever experienced.

Your Music

“Many people,” said Oliver Wendell Holmes, “die with all their music in them.” He was a 20th century American jurist and legal scholar.

I can’t even imagine how large a number that might be in the 21st century, but I plan not to die that way. I have blogged and published memoirs and novels for about seven years.

Although a relatively quiet person, I have had lots of stories to tell and blogs I hope have spoken to you. To have not done so would have turned my retirement into a parched land much to my regret.

Sing your song. It is likely at the very least your family is eager to listen.

Change

“It’s not easy to subdue the overweening ego in order to free the adventuresome soul.” Parker J. Palmer, American author.

Oh, those mixed motives. We all possess the mixture. How does the dark side affect our loved ones? Badly.

My journey is to help my lesser self diminish and optimize my better self in the hands of God in this era of the selfie. I need to grow old gracefully despite my hearing becoming worse, my joint mobility eroding, and the number of my brain cells diminishing.

Of one thing, I am certain. I can’t do it without the Lord’s help. To the extent I can follow Him, I think even my old age will have that adventuresome quality of which Mr. Palmer speaks.

On Love by Alain de Botton, a Book Review

Alain de Botton is a Swiss-born philosopher whose 5/28/16 article in the New York Times, Why You Will Mary the Wrong Person, was by a quantum leap the most-read NYT article of 2016. In 1993, his novel, On Love, was published. 

The book is about the making and breaking of the once-beautiful relationship between Chloe and the narrator. The novel probes the mystery, joy, and sorrow of their love. The fiction asks some age-old questions, reminding the reader of the complexity of love.

It’s a subject of universal interest treated uniquely by the probing mind of Mr. Botton. On Love is a story I believe is well worth your time.

I am reminded of the words of the late American author, Susan Sontag:“A good book is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility, what human nature is, of what happens in the world. It’s a creator of inwardness.”

That Last Quarter

I am two weeks and two days short of the ninth anniversary of my retirement. I remember struggling with whether I should work on Saturdays late in my career when it seemed necessary. Technology had not helped diminish my weekly hours making it far easier and tempting to work at home on Saturdays. At one point I even considered laboring on Sundays but, thank God, my spouse, Kristine, quickly talked me out of it.

I cannot describe how gratifying it was to walk out of my office on that last day of work. It was almost like the world had been lifted off my shoulders.

On the other hand, it wasn’t long before various systems in my body were beginning to slow down and decay. I am a victim of inbreeding as a 100 percent Ashkenazi Jew.

My paternal grandparents were cousins. Not a good thing. I am slowly feeling the effects of that now approaching 78 years of age in less than five months.

By God’s grace, he found Kristine and me almost 38 years ago. It’s made the road more tolerable and more peaceful. She is the love of my life and He is our savior.

To Be

“I think we all get too caught up in doing instead of just being sometimes.” Anne Rivers Siddons, the late American novelist.

I have tried to grow emotionally and spiritually for a long time. Who will I be in this, last phase life?

We don’t know ourselves well. We have never even seen our own face, only images.

The right spouse, to me is priceless for real growth. We may do battle as couples do, but I think she has helped me to mature.

I believe Kristine has and will help me to become more than I ever gathered  I could be. That’s not avoiding how difficult change can be. That’s, simply, the the story and the beauty of love.

Celebration

In this beautiful time of the year through which we have just passed, my spouse Kristine was reminded of St Patrick’s ancient prayer that so inspires her during her quiet times. Our Maker, incarnate, came to earth to bring each of us peace in days of chaos and abundant, eternal life. Nothing could be more celebratory.

We celebrate with you the enormous beauty and serenity of the Good News. Hoping you enjoyed a festive, Merry Christmas and are enjoying a bountiful, happy New Year.

Those Memories, Preserving or Leaving Them Behind

“I write – so it would seem – to recapture, to preserve and return to the past, though I might just as easily be writing to forget and put that past behind me.” André Aciman, an American writer.

I get it, André. Sometimes my wounds begin to heal as I understand them better writing memoirs. It seems easier to forgive when I begin to put the past more soundly in the rear view mirror.

On the other hand there are joys I want to revisit. It can be writing or rereading my memoirs, reliving some of the joy in my best moments with Kristine and the kids.

As they say here in the first quarter of the 21st-century, it’s all good.

It’s Blown By

“This is a brief life, but in its brevity it offers us some splendid moments, some meaningful adventures.” Rudyard Kipling the renowned, late, English novelist.

For me, it went by in a flash. It went faster and faster with age. I’ve published 300 pages of memoirs in three books. Those long-term memories seem like yesterday, including, the first commercial flight I took on a rainy day in 1949.

It seems like this week that my son beamed from ear to ear as we bought him a new Toyota Tacoma truck. He treated that truck like a fine piece of jewelry and sold it for a remarkable price ten years after the purchase. It just happened. Didn’t it?

Stay close to those you love. It’s all going to blow by much faster than you ever imagined.

Yes, it’s trite. But it’s so, so true.