Excellence comes with practice and I merely dabble with writing, but hopefully its like eating well or exercising, every little bit helps. My writing prompt asked, “Who are you?” “Why are you here?” This is a loaded question spiritually. Does my life have meaning, or am I merely taking up space?
Don’t you love listening to recent high school graduates? They seem so confident and frequently thank the person, “Who made my what I am today.” They make me smile. I anticipate their joys and sorrows and recognize who they are is subject to change. Their lofty goals and big dreams are admirable, but it would be interesting to interview them five, ten years down the road and contrast their adolescent aspirations with adulthood reality. John Lennon said it best, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
Who I am is an older southern woman, happily married and materially comfortable. My life is relatively easy. I can’t think of a single person I’m angry with or estranged from. This is a period of relative peace and family harmony. The message I hear from on high is, “Be grateful.”
After more than thirty years of nursing I’m learning to accept retirement and losing my task-oriented need to produce tangible proof of my accomplishments each day. Who I am isn’t just what I did for a living. My options, similar to the teen graduating from high school, are varied. Shall I take up a new hobby with all this extra time? Should I volunteer and make myself useful? Is it time to travel?
Who I am is someone who makes decisions based on: if today was my last day….Unlike a youngster with grandiose ideas, I have no mountains to climb or diseases to cure, but I’m trying to pay attention to the here and now. Mother Teresa said, “Find your own Calcutta.” To me that means showing basic kindness and courtesy to my husband, my family, friends and all God’s creatures.
I’m not running for office, chairing a committee or leading a march, but I am checking on my elderly neighbor to see if she needs something from the grocery store. I’m no longer administering bedside care or following doctor’s orders, but I am going to the doctor with friends with ailments, offering company and a trained ear.
I’m present on this day, in this moment, trying to be silent and still. I serve a living, compassionate Creator who will guide and direct me if I’ll just listen. A friend says her retired husband offers this prayer on waking. He looks toward heaven and says, “I’m available.” My prayers are a bit more wordy, but I hope God will continue to open the eyes of my heart, keeping me mindful of the needs and feelings of others. May he guide me in becoming the woman I’m called to be who never forgets to be grateful.