Retirement was my bottom. I was at the end of my rope with myself. Sick and tired of needing to be needed. Exhausted by my own bitching and moaning, frustrated with my passive aggressive games, and embarrassed by my own lack of integrity. I had grown weary of complaining, enraged with myself for having sold my soul to the perfectionism god.
I was so done with being a minister. Ministry plays to my greatest strengths, which, as always, happen to also be my greatest weaknesses. I was on empty from all the people pleasing, the caretaking, the performances, the efforts to play Saint Bill, and the stupid attempts to crawl up on the cross with Christ. I was at my bottom, and my addiction – playing-God.
I have come to my senses now. Retirement has enabled me to reclaim my soul. I’m rigorously more honest with myself. My appetite for solitude and silence are back. I am actually still for lengthy periods of time. I am aware of what I am feeling and thinking and even believing. My eyes are wide open to the reality that I am not in control or in charge.
I see it clearly now, I am called to bear witness, to pay attention, to notice, and to keep my eyes on things. I watch with care these days. I look for the sublime. I have full visions of my hopes and dreams for the day. I have good insight into my motivations. I am regularly awed and overwhelmed by beauty and kindness and mercy. I see it everywhere. I look and look and look. I look up. I look out.
I listen these days. I truly hear the voice of God. The Word speaks loudly to me out of the silence and stillness of my retired days. Dawn to dusk, void of expectation, I am free to receive the gifts of the present, and amazing Grace IS such a sweet sound. I hear that holy hum in the background of all my activities and lack thereof. Eternity echoes off of me, and I can feel the vibrating resonance of the presence of God.
Life tastes sweeter to me. I'm fond of moments of nostalgia and remembrance. I have a big appetite to be alive. I want to savor my hours. I am no longer in the funk of being busy but bored. I am done with trying to do it all, and keep everyone happy. I have reacquired a taste for the banquet God has set before me. I attend the feast.
I smell the roses. I smell the breeze off the lake. I can tell when a comment or idea truly stinks. I know how to avoid places and people who give off a vile stench. I can smell out sour. I know when a soul has gone bad. I am on to the scent of the Holy Spirit. I can detect the aroma of holiness.
I am in touch. I feel much more tender and soft. I have fully reclaimed the great gift of being possessed of a bleeding heart. I do cut and wound easily and often. I like it that way. It is my strength, my power. It is the presence of my heart loving, and my soul coming alive again.
I was at the bottom. I knew it was time to come home to the genuine me, to take back my soul from the clutches of the "popularity game." Retirement has opened the windows and doors, letting in the fresh clean air of knowing I am a beloved child of God, nothing less, nothing more, and way more than enough.
Reverend William R. Grimbol has spent the past 30+ years helping people create and develop strong spiritual connections with loved ones and God. He is also a published author, with over a dozen books to his credit.