Thursday, April 23, 2020



...Feeling Uncomfortably Unproductive

I learned that I have tended to define myself by what I do, what I produce, what I can accomplish and how hard I work! Yes, I was enjoying retirement, especially not having a job I had to show up at every day whether I felt like it or not. I was enjoying it mostly because I had a lot on my plate, things I had freely chosen to do. I was traveling around the world giving priest retreats and convocations. I was volunteering in the Caribbean Missions. I was helping out at the Cathedral and Little Sisters of the Poor. I was still turning out a book or two a year. I was posting on this blog regularly. Now on some days, I can't figure out who I am! 

...Feeling Like My Time Is Running Out 

I will turn 76 on April 28th. While I am in reasonably good health, especially for my age, I realize that I am only 4 years from 80 and 14 years from 90. I have things I want to do and places I want to go. I have 500,000 frequent flyer miles on American Airlines!!!! It depresses me severely to know that I cannot expect to fly anywhere for some time now. I so wanted to go back down to the island missions on March 14 of this year. I was scheduled to present a workshop that I had worked on for more than 6 months. It had to be cancelled and I don't know when, or if, it can be rescheduled. I would hate to see that much time wasted! 

...Feeling Like I Am Living Through An Old Cowboy Movie Or An Active Tornado Warning 

Remember those old cowboy movies when people were hiding in their houses, looking out of closed saloon doors and locked store windows when the "dreaded out-of-town gang" ravaged the town "shooting it up" and causing the populace to  cringe in fear as they waited for the danger to pass?  Have you ever been terrified by a tornado warning when you had to "shelter in place" in a basement or a secure room in the center of the house as the storm approached outside restricting your movements for hours on end, fearing that it could kill you? I hate the feeling of being pinned down! 

...Feeling Like I Am Losing Contact With My Friends

A lot of people have contacted me by phone and e-mail, but seeing them in person, going places with them, sitting around talking and interacting with them regularly is different. The electronic contact is nice, but points of contact keep getting further and further apart as time goes by. I keep feeling that if this pandemic goes on for months, it will be like those promises we made at graduation to each other to "stay in contact." Maybe one or two contacts survived, but the rest faded into history - many permanently.  Thank God for electronic media! It's better than nothing! 

...Feeling Like My Old World Is Ending

When people talk about things "returning to normal," I tend to dismiss it as delusional. I don't think we can return to the way things used to be. It is like going back to the house I grew up in after the funeral of my last parent. The house was still intact, but it was no longer "home." It had become "just an empty house!" I could go back into it physically, but I couldn't go back and pretend nothing had changed. I think after this pandemic, we are in for a "new world" of some sort. I don't think we will look at anything the way we used to after this experience - especially if goes on for a few more months. 

...Feeling Very Blessed

The more I focus on others and the problems they have to deal with, the less I am inclined to feel sorry for myself.  I know, in my heart of hearts, that I merely have aggravations while so many others have real problems! As long as my health holds up, I have renewed my pledge to try not to complain about anything! 

...Feeling Like Some Wonderful Things Are About to Happen

Every time I have ended up in a place like this, some wonderful new things have presented themselves. It has always been a matter of time, patience and keeping my eyes open. As much as I grieved over the dying of the old worlds I have known, when the new world manifested itself, I never wanted that old world back! I have always believed the words of Alexander Graham Bell who said, "When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us."  For those who survive this, maybe "the best is yet to come?" I certainly want to be around to see what happens! 

...Feeling That No Matter What, I Will Be OK With It

Who hasn't thought about the remote possibility of death during these days? I've done everything I can think of to be cautious and to stay safe. I want to hang around for a while longer, but if I were to become a "victim of this virus," it would really be OK because I know in my heart of hearts that my life has turned out much, much better than I could have ever imagined! For that I am "simply amazed and forever grateful." I want to hang around for a while longer, but I have made my plans for "the end" just in case. I have a "last will and testament." I have "end of life instructions." I have made my funeral mass plans. I have a casket coming from Saint Meinrad. My tombstone is already in place. If it were to happen during this pandemic,  I pray that it will be over quickly! I have never been very good with pain! Yes, live or die, at 76 I am "simply amazed and forever grateful! 


I hope you are recording your insights somewhere to look at again in a year or two! Looking back on all this, I am convinced that we will all have learned something about ourselves that could be extremely helpful to us going forward. 

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