The post lady brought two interesting pieces of mail the other day.
The first was a book mysteriously posted to me which was entitled "Retirement guide book". My first thought was that someone obviously thought it was time I retired, so had sent me some incentive. I have since noticed it in other churches and discovered that somebody was sending them to churches. Phew!.... I am not old enough to retire!!!
The second bit of mail the same day was an invitation to attend an award evening. An elderly retired minister (Who happens to be my childhood minister) has nominated me for the Community Spirit category of the 2008 Dunedin Stars Award. My wife won this award in 2003. It is an award presented by a local community newspaper and they call for nominations from volunteers throughout the city. I will attend, they didn't offer me the option of withdrawing my name. I should attend so as to express my appreciation to the nominator, but I will be sitting there hoping that they do not present it to me. I do a lot of community stuff, but what is voluntary and what is part of my paid ministry? To me it is all part of the ministry lifestyle for which I get given a living allowance. The award should go to someone who does what they do absolutely for nothing. In replying to the invite, I think I will try to discourage any possible win!
I just had a day off. The weather was nice and warm, very humid. I first fixed my flat tire from last night. We went shopping for some Habitat for Humanity hardware this morning, had morning tea up town and collected a few Christmas dinner invitation things to do from the church office. I had a phone call from a workplace Support client which I had to deal with. In the afternoon, I collected a big steel gate post from the Habitat site and took it to a church elder who had the tools to cut it a bit off it for me. I stopped and had a cup of tea with him and his wife then returned the post to the site. I came home and gardened for a while, before going for a 5 k jog. I finish the day feeling like I have had a worthwhile day. I have not wasted it. There are sometimes days off that I look back on and feel sad. (Or work days for that matter) The day has passed and I have done nothing constructive! I feel empty and cheated of life somehow. I feel like I have been stupid and thrown something precious down the drain.
I guess that's my fear....I do not want to get to my deathbed or to a disabled state and look back and feel like I have wasted my living. I want to be able to arrive at the end and say, "Oh well it was good, but its over. At least I can go out knowing I did not waste it. I filled it with "x" number of years of satisfying, constructive and contributing living!" I think it would be shear hell to get to that moment and feel like I do when I have wasted a day! On the other hand, that sense of fulfilment from a life well lived will bring a deep sense of completion and peace. For me this fulfilling/satisfying feeling is its own reward, and I don't really need an award to keep me doing what I do. I hope they give it to someone more deserving who needs the encouragement and recognition. I'll keep you posted.