Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Time to cut back maybe?

I point and my son works these days. :-)

Who is that old hunchback?

Nearly finished.. I enjoy projects.

An "old bloke" showed us around the mine workings.
These steam engines are way older than me!
The mining museum.
How long have we had that goat?
We got a text from our daughter the other day asking how old one of our goats was?  It was sick and, because we are overseas, she had called the vet who wanted to know.  My daughter had thought just three years. We thought a little older, but then began to remember landmarks, and realised it was a lot older, at least ten years old, if not older than that. Where did those years go?  Time flies doesn’t it? We often miscalculate time passed. What seems like "only yesterday" can be many years ago. 
“Who is that old guy?”
In Edinburgh my son had a rather small and flimsy garden shed in the little backyard of his house.  He wanted to extend it while we were still visiting so using mainly old timber with some purchased roofing and plywood, we redesigned and remade this shed. We spent yesterday afternoon nearly finishing it. My wife took some photos of us working and as I loaded them on to the computer I thought, “Who is that old guy?”  When you are posing for a photo you can look your best, but when you are busy working, unaware that you are being photographed you really see what others see. As I looked at these photos I saw what others see - an old man. I noted the other day that a nephew was having his 48th birthday! I would have picked him to be still in his thirties.  I class myself as a contemporary of a 48 year old! As far as I am concerned they are “my generation” not “the younger generation”?  - wrong! Last Sunday in the rain, while rushing for a bus I slipped on a gutter and fell. People rushed up to me asking if I was OK (“OKeee” – like only a Scot can say.) I was impressed with the concern. Then I realised from their point of view they were helping “an elderly man”!  
I have to admit to getting old. We toured the Scottish Mining Museum the other day and an "old guy" was our tour guide. I estimated he was in his seventies and doing this as a hobby/part time job as a retired miner. Then he told us how old he was in 1951 and I realised I was at least three years older than him! - "But I'm not that old?" I said to myself! I had a cold/flu recently and discovered after I was getting better that I had very little energy and, given a chance to lie down, would fall asleep by mid afternoon. I have troubles with my knees. If one comes right, the other chooses to play up.  I notice my son can lift heavy things with ease, where as I need a lot more exertion. I notice too that when I go to do something heavy, he will step in and say, “No I will lift it!” - he thinks that I am “an old man”!  While I am stubborn and want to still do all I used to do, I have to admit that my body is not what it used to be.
The “Desiderata” suggests: Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.”  I am looking forward to going back home soon and picking up my responsibilities. While retired from ministry, I will have three chaplaincies, and the voluntary work I do on the Dunedin Night Shelter Trust. I hope to get into the garden around our acre of ground and I want to do some DIY stuff around our house. As well as this I look forward to doing some walking or tramping. But am I too old? Should I be “gracefully surrendering”?  I have been reflecting on this. Maybe it is time to give up some things? In my younger days I have often been annoyed with “old geasers” who hang in with their old ways of thinking and old ways of doing things a long way past their “used by” date. Maybe I am one of those “old geasers” now?  Having stopped for four months, do I really want to take up where I left off again? Is it time for change?
A big part of the enjoyment of life for me is having goals, challenges and projects to look forward to. I am not sure I would cope with doing little. I saw an old bloke get on the bus the other day, walking stick and looking fragile. He was greeting people in a friendly way and seemed contented with his lot. I wondered then how I will cope with life as I lose abilities to do things? M Scott Peck reckoned one of the big spiritual lessons in life is learning to "let go" - right through to the ultimate "letting go." I have a lot of learning to do. 

1 comment:

Linda Myers said...

There are some things I no longer do at the suggestion of my body.

But there are other things, some of them new, that I do now with great joy.

Blessed be and Amen!