18 September 2009

Amendment of life

As I sat in front of the computer in my second floor Holiday Inn Express room at the corner of Taylor and Huger last evening, I became aware of a new sound in the mix of the air-conditioning, television, traffic: the staccato spatter of rain on the window to my left. I went to bed extra grateful for having driven to Columbia late in the day. Now and then a hunch turns to brilliance.

The feeling of good fortune continued as day broke, the rain continuing and the treadmill downstairs beckoning despite the fluffy comfort of the big bed. The fitness "center" (considerably smaller than my room) featured a stair climber, stationary bike, treadmill, television and a thermonstat set on 62 -- perfect!

It's been a long time since I've attended a clergy event. This one equals our annual fall diocesan clergy conference. Rather than being in the mountains of North Carolina as usual, we're at the Hilton -- lovely and hospitable (but not the mountains). This day and a half of presentations by people from the Church Pension Group, focusing on wellness, insurance, pension, are helpful in terms of the facts. More importantly, I think, is our having been stopped in our tracks with crafted and well-organized time to work on processes which all of us, clergy and everyone else, tend to avoid and/or put off.

The first speaker in my group read a quote from "What Color is Your Parachute? in Retirement" by Richard L Bolles. It went something like this: Will you plan the retirement you really want, or will you accept the one that just shows up?

Well, isn't that the question? Although I'm not officially retired, as in collecting a pension, Tal and I worked through what my stopping work would mean, so I'd say we did pretty well with the first part of the question. But, the second part? I know full well I'm not managing this time of luxurious freedom very well. Overscheduled, unnecessarily stressed, not enjoying life very much, I have to fix it, and soon.

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