Monday, March 26, 2012
Last week I traveled with my husband and friends to Washington D.C. We planned the trip awhile ago with little thought to the time of year; but thanks to this amazing late winter and early spring, we were there at the peak of the cherry blossoms. The display surrounding the Tidal Basin was a riot of pink and white froth, gnarled tree trunks supporting such a profusion of flowers that they swept the surface of the water as they bowed low with their beautiful burden. Schoolchildren and retired couples alike literally chortled with glee.
The blossoms were not the only delight of this trip. We sampled delicious wines in the Virginia countryside; spent too few hours in the Newseum, remembering the many events from our own lifetimes as well as those of earlier times; remembered national events in a different way as we visited the monuments and memorials marking wars and famous figures; wandered the streets and shops of Georgetown; ate dinner at one of the best farm-to-table restaurants in the country; and visited our National Cathedral.
That visit has lingered in my mind for many reasons. The first is the amazing commitment that our country made to this building dedicated to the worship of God, the equal of anything Europe has to offer. Eighty three years in the construction. Generations of masons, stone-cutters, stained glass window artists. I visited several times as a girl in the 50s, when I only remember scaffolding. As a young woman where I remember the organ playing. Taking my own children, hoping to impress them with the presence of God in such stirring grandeur. Watching on TV as presidents have been honored before being laid to rest in their native states.
Churches across our country come in many sizes and shapes, adorned and plain, many denominations and non-denominational, in cities and country fields, holding God’s people close. They are only buildings, but they offer solace and common ground. The unifying factor is that they are places of worship of our God, who is an awesome God. At the National Cathedral there are no pews built into the structure. That is because in God’s house we should not sit. The proper positions are standing in praise and kneeling in prayer. Only One sits in God’s presence. The One who said, “It is finished.” You can see Him sitting above the altar at the front of this beautiful edifice which I urge all Americans to visit!
Friday, March 2, 2012
Lately, my mind has been shuttling back and forth between retirement, commitment, and recreation.
After 44 years of marriage to a man who has gone off to work every weekday, what's coming when he doesn't? Oh, there were years when we both worked, years when we didn't, but there have never been years when we were home together each day. We love each other, but we have lives of our own too. Our weekends have always been very special because they are weekends. What happens when each day is a weekend? What does he want? What do I want? Do we want the same things? We talk about it, but come to no conclusions. We will be re"creating" our lives and our life together. We are very grateful and blessed to have this opportunity, but honestly, it's a tad unnerving!
We know what we don't want. We don't want to waste our retirement years not moving about because it is too hot. We don't want to be indolent. We don't want nothing to do. (Double negative, but meaningful) Neither plays golf or harbors any great plans to see the world. He is not taking an early retirement, but we still have plenty of energy, are healthy and reseasonably alert. One thing we do know is every couple is different and must settle this for themselves.
What's left? Commitment. Certainly, we are committed to each other. We want the best for one another as long as we have each other. We are committed to something outside ourselves. He worked all those years not only for his own sake, but for our family's sake and for his company's sake too. His desire to do something for someone else won't change.
As a Christian, my purpose falls under the Great Commission of Mark 16:15, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." I quickly add with words or without!
That's not a bad way to conclude this blog. Though we may not know what form our retirement will take, we do know we have a purpose not only enjoy our chidren and grandchildren and what's left of life, but to be of some benefit to others, to give back. Now, that makes sense!