I love this picture of Mama Camel caring for her little one. She keeps him warm with her neck snugly wrapped around him. It also keeps him from slipping away while she takes a much needed cat nap, for try as he might, as a mischievous youngster he can't slip out of her hold on him. But what should we do on this day after Hump Day? Isn't it clear that since we made it over the hump and are headed back down it's time to look forward? Looking back is always fun to do with all the remembrances we have and the memories of those who are no longer with us. But God also expects us to take on new challenges and conquer fears as we move ahead. And if part of our memories are of the mistakes we made, now is the time to correct those from experience to be a better person for whatever time we have left on this earth.
A good way to start is by making a list of the things we want to improve and determine whatever goals and aspirations we have left to challenge us. By doing so, it gives us a basis as we looking at what we have done and what we could have done better. It's kind of like the growing child who makes up a list of what he or she wants to do when they grow up. I remember back in elementary school when we were asked to write a short paper on that very subject. For most of us it was the first time we really took the time to think about the future and it's something that we can use as a guideline to get there.
The younger we are when we decide to get busy with our life's plan, the easier it is to make changes while there is plenty of time to do so. When older, we don't have enough time to perhaps do what we should have done earlier, but it is never too late to start. For some of us, we only need to tweak things a bit, others have more to consider and for those who have never taken a critical look at themselves it can be life changing, but we all should do it nonetheless. In my case, I came to the realization that I needed to look at things from a different perspective as I neared retirement, so I sat down about eight years ago and thought about what I wanted to do when I wasn't beset by business issues that unfortunately often ruled my life. The result was finding something that I always wanted to do but never gave it much more than a thought and I also renewed and strengthened my relationship with God which becomes much more concerning the closer we get to our own human mortality.
First, I looked at the things I could do in my older years which could be done within the always increasing bounds of physical aging. Having thought about writing for years but never doing it, I took a writing course by correspondence. It was detailed and extensive, took over a year but it opened me to the way I needed to think once I determined what I wanted to write about. Having moved to a rural location after years in the city, I realized that I felt and was much closer to nature and with animals already in my blood due to my wife's love of horses and dogs, nature became a natural subject. My love of American history added another dimension with both history and the way things work politically and I began writing a blog on a regular basis with a mixture of those things. But it became a natural that faith would also enter into the mix due to the examples that nature gives to show me all the proof I need concerning the existence of an Almighty Power who created us. The blog gave me plenty of practice and I also added some magazine articles and began contemplating book writing.
Book writing is a completely different dimension since I found I really had to immerse myself in it and just let it grab hold of me to develop a story. And with my greater awareness of the importance of my faith which I had let slip from time to time over the years, I devoted more time to studying and thinking about it and that brought it much more into my life and my writing. Now it is hard for me to write a story without it showing itself. It's as if I have been drawn out by the Spirit to discuss it in my works and I find it makes my work so much better. And so, now that I am in my early seventies yet of sound mind and mostly sound body, I am devoting myself to this work plus my care for animals since my wife is still in the working world.
Here's the real kicker. I find now, over seven years after accepting the writing challenge, even when I have no pressing things to do, I love to write and I know my faith has grown and sustains me. Would I have ever guessed this even ten years ago? Probably not, but I do know it keeps me excited about life and loving every minute that I can devote to it. With my chores and errands and the house husband stuff, the day flies by and before I know it I am welcoming my loving wife home after her hard day at work. Frankly, had I not found myself through this exercise, I doubt that I would still be here, probably because I lost the interest in life that a retirement of boredom can bring. All I know is the Lord works in mysterious ways and when we open ourselves to Him, it is amazing what wonders He will perform through us. I've found myself and am comfortable and at peace in my latter phase of life and I hope each of you can find such joy at whatever stage you find yourselves. The self review and analysis and change is worth it and it can enrich your life as well. Add the dimension of believing through faith and it also allows the look forward even beyond this world. Now that is a future worth truly pondering.