Wednesday, May 15, 2024

BEST FOR LAST

What will I be saying when I depart this life?

Not in a literal sense.

Stay with me.

After over seventeen years as a working minister my beloved Richard gave his final sermon in early September of 1995. It was to a small group of devotees gathered in our living room. Calling it a sermon may be a bit of an overstatement. It was a sharing. His health was declining, though we did not think at the time that his passing was imminent.

Though we did not know it would be his final lecture it did have a very definite energy to it. If not ominous it did feel somehow monumental. Circumstantial. Consequential.

Richard spoke about what are called the “fruits of the spirit.” The particulars of what comprises those are not so relevant. What was and is striking to me about his subject matter that day is that the aspects that are termed “fruits of the spirit” were central to the way Richard lived and served. He lived seeking to become more fruitful in his living and in his expressing. He wanted to align with and embody spiritual attributes in his human experience. He continually stressed this form of “ripening” in what he taught and in how he served.

I realized after his passing that while not a conscious choice he sermonized on what was most central to his heart in his final sharing.

He saved the best for last.

It was what Richard’s Soul was saying when he departed this life. What he was cosmically communicating. The energy his Soul was emitting. Being fruitful was a Soul mission and so he left behind a trail of spirit Essence in not only word but also form.

The best for sure. And it came at the last.

I do not currently have a prognosis that would lead to think that I am at the final days or months of my lifetime. I am not really that old, at least in terms of current life span statistics.

Yet I know for sure that I have way less time left than I have already lived. I know I am nearing the end of my active vocation in its current form. I ponder and contemplate purpose and legacy while giving little thought to goals or accomplishments.

If I were saving the best for last what will that be?

If I knew I was going to give my final sermon, what would I preach about?

If I were to laser focus my energy this day, knowing it would be my lasting emission, what would I choose to emit?

If this was the last blog I would ever compose, would I choose this topic and these questions?

What has been central to my living expression and to my personal ministry?

I pose these questions to you, dear readers, rather than supply my answers.

While you may not compose sermons or blogs, I assure you that your life is a ministry of sorts. You are always emitting energy. You are always leaving a trail. Traces in your path. That trail and those traces are indeed your legacy. They are what you will leave behind.

Richard left behind the fruits of the spirit. He continues to do so via my remembrance of him and his lasting best.

I am clearer by the day about what I consider to be my lasting legacy.

I am under no illusion that I have endless time left.

I get up every morning with a prayer in my heart that I will be of useful service while I am still here, embodied. I seek to become the best that I can be. I arise willing to forgive and open to evolve and thus uplift this world.

In living thusly, I know that if this is my last day on earth it will be my personal version of the best for last.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

PRELUDE TO ANOTHER DIGIT

“I am older than I ever intended to be.”

That is a line from the wonderful play and subsequent movie A Lion In Winter. I first heard it in college, which I freely admit was a long, long time ago. I thought at the time that I had an accurate perspective on what it meant.

I did not.

As an aspiring performing artist, I believed at the time that getting “old” was the worst thing that could ever happen. I of course did not stop and consider the alternative. I also ignored the inevitability that if I lived long enough I too would one day be “older than I ever intended to be.”

One of the biggest surprises of my lifetime is how much I like being a man of an age. I will soon be sixty-seven, and the disbelief I sometimes feel around that is not accompanied by any unpleasantness or dread. I feel a greater freedom than I have ever felt. My priorities and sense of purpose are crystal clear. There is a certainty about why I am here, and what I am about. I dwell consistently in a spiritual reality that fuels my living and feeds my serving. I awaken each day with a granular gratitude that I have another day to awaken and contribute more.

There is way more sand in the bottom of my hourglass than there is in the top. Much more of my life experience is now downstream than what is flowing toward me. That does not trouble me at all. It gifts me with an urgency about how I choose to spend my remaining days. It clarifies the importance of applying my values and navigating via my priorities. Purpose is my compass, and my life experiences my map of awakening. I rarely lose a sense that regardless of what circumstances are occurring there is always something greater than the manifest realm with all its challenges and dramas.

My body and physical capabilities are not what they once were. I admit to having more cognitive pauses than in previous years. I see very little detail without the aid of my glasses. What used to be up there is now down here. What used to be tight and smooth is now saggy and crepey. And I humbly embrace that I also experience more clarity, maturity, and wisdom than I ever have. I let things slide off me easily. I have clear boundaries which also grant me a deeper sense of connection. My belonging is free of attempts to fit in, which is liberating beyond measure.

I appreciate deeply that against all odds I am older than I ever intended to be.

In a mostly youth obsessed culture I relish that I have lived long enough to proudly wear the moniker senior citizen. I do not hesitate to flash my Medicare card. I hold no shame around the disability placard that hangs from my rearview mirror. The feet that used to so frequently wear Capezio dance shoes and the latest fashion almost exclusively don Sketchers and Crocs. I have lived long enough to choose comfort over trend, and it tickles me more than I can say.

As I am poised to add another digit to the length of my incarnation I do so mindful that aging is no longer the adversary it once was. I am clear that I have no more mountains to climb. The fact that it is no longer physically possible for me to even climb stairs is secondary. Goals and aspirations have faded as my present moment experience is what matters most. How I am relating to life as it is, is what matters most. While I once wanted to change the world, I now want to simply love it as it is.

To those who say age is merely a state of mind I choose not to disagree. I know what it is to me. I do not identify with it, but neither do I deny it. I have been young. I have been middle age. I already experienced those places in the human experience. I do not need to pretend that I can somehow magically have that again. From this perspective I realize I did not fully inhabit those timeframes. I took them for granted.

And now I am committed to being a vital, awake, contributing senior who is content to be older than I ever intended to be.