I last talked about my retirement in this blog about a year ago. http://narunatexas.blogspot.com/2013/09/retirement.html At that time I thought I might survive not going to work every day, but reserved final judgement on the whole idea of retirement, waiting to see what the future would bring.
Since then we (for it is not a solo journey) have meandered along through life, enjoying spending time together. A trip to Europe was a highlight of the past year, as was a recent mission trip to Mississippi. Our lives have mostly revolved around each other and our small country church family. There have been highs and lows, but together we have survived and grown.
One thing which I am still trying to decide as to whether it is a positive or a negative, has been my attachment to "social media" in the form of Facebook. I know more about how family and friends are doing than I dreamed possible just a few years ago, and have renewed friendships which I had thought were lost forever. Some days it seems as though I can't escape the silly thing, with it following me around in the guise of an alleged smartphone which constantly encourages me to see what is happening in the world at the expense of face-to-face human interaction.
Most days, it seems to be an endless stream of the frivolous and humorous. Occasionally, it brings me something superficially inane which may actually start me thinking. I know independent thought is not the raison d’etre of social media, but if you aren't careful sometimes it just slips out. One such event occurred this past week in the form of this cartoon/sign which was posted by a former co-worker. I looked at the image of little Bam-Bam, read the accompanying text and chuckled a bit. Then the mental wheels began slowly turning and I admitted I used to carry around a lengthy list of people who fit into this group. Most were folks I encountered through work in some fashion, although there may have been a couple from other venues. I kept feeling something was slightly amiss, but it was only after a day or two of reflection I came to the somewhat startling realization I no longer had a mental list of people who needed to be smacked.
It wasn't until the following Sunday as I sat listening to my pastor's sermon that I had my epiphany. Without getting into too many details, the gist of his message was that we are known, influenced, and defined by those we associate with. I awoke to the knowledge that during the last 10 years I had worked, I had become an ever angrier person, with an ever-lengthening list of people I was angry with and wanted to "smack upside the head." My mental makeup and personality kept me from turning all that anger loose, so I kept it bottled up and took it home with me to my family. The more difficult idea, which I can now finally admit, it was really myself I was angry at for allowing those people and situations to rule my life. I was the one who needed smacking!
As I sat in that little 135 year old sanctuary, I realized I had spent
the last 18 months associating with only my Lovely Bride, our
families, and church family, and I wasn't angry at anyone, especially myself. Spending time with those we love, and those who love us, gives us a wonderfully different view of our world. I won't pretend I don't still get riled occasionally, but the focus has shifted to a broader scope of issues such as; plagues in Africa, war in Israel, politicians and political parties, and the state of our nation. Thankfully, it is no longer those destructive personal issues which frequently hit much too close to home. Best of all, I am no longer that angry man.