In my mind today, I’m thinking of strengths and weaknesses. We all have them. Right now is a very weak or difficult time for me. Every time I move two steps forward in my home-family life, spiritual life, church life, community life, and author/writing life I am shoved three steps backwards. You notice I didn’t mention physical life. That is because God carries me and I have no worries. If physically I crumpled, I know God and what the endgame would be. Faith.
Memento mori, students. The world is wanting us to forget this. My son who takes care of us brought this Marcus Aurelius quote to my attention. Yes, regardless of your status we all pass on from the earth. How do you interpret this? Back row do you say YOLO? Front row: do you say it’s best to get as much money as we can to live as long as possible in comfort? Invest well! What about the rest of you? My husband and I are an everyday Joe and Jane. We have worked and we have invested and we have done what the world expected us to do. Guess what? No matter how you do it there is always going to be heart rendering times.
Now that we are both retired we can begin the real work that God wants us to do. I had already started this journey up to retirement 6 years ago. ALS took my job but it didn’t take my spirit. Students do you realize that not even the devil or God can take your will. At first my spirit was broken, then I realized the gifts God gave me in retirement: spiritual growth, teaching high school religious class, Bible studies, time to write and reflect, time to grow my intelligence, time to be still and know God, Turn the Page Book Club, bond with my middle child, see my Grands, and be on committees to help our little town. Now hopefully my husband can do the same and join me for our “real” Earthly work before our departure.
Families are so complicated. At Shady Oaks Retirement Home, our house, we have “incidents.” Some are over quickly but some of these linger and creep into our daily lives and squash our happiness for weeks. It emotionally deflates me. It tries to deplete my spiritual life. Some days like today I hang on by a thread of hope. Hope that my children are not scarred from caring for two fragile parents. Prayers that they will see God’s work through me even though many times I am pushed to my physical limits. Trying desperately to lead by example. Our last book club book was The Kite Runner. I so related to the father. It made me think that we have always had prodigal sons from the beginning. Look at the first, Lucifer. There is a struggle in the dynamics of children with parents. There always will be on earth. This is one of the crosses of having children. As hard as we try, we can never make their lives “happy.” That is the hardest thing for a parent.
“Lord, be glorified in my weaknesses as well as in my strengths.” This was my simple prayer reflection today. It inspired this blog. God knows how terribly weak we are. God also knows how terribly strong we are. Pray today for God to help us persevere THROUGH our weaknesses and to provide strength to do “the real work” in our Earthly journey. Happy snow day students!
Sarah Anderson Alley
Sal the Do the Work Gal
Quotes of the Day:
“When you retire, that is when your real work begins.”
“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”
“Perseverance, secret of all triumphs.”
“Football is like life – it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.”
“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.”
“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own – not of the same blood and birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are unnatural.”