Charting Unknown Waters

OK. I just started my journey into the unknown. The uncharted waters of life in my sixties began yesterday. I guess I must have thought that yesterday I would have somehow “felt older” or that my memory would suddenly disappear into the abyss or something else drastic might happen. Well I’m still here today and alive and relatively well (for my age!).

I’m really enjoying life these days. In some ways I’m coasting down life’s highway. But in other regards I am still squeezing out from my resources of memory and experience to eek out a survival in the corporate world. Most days it is still an adventure for me. And other days it seems to have the word “drudgery” attached. But all in all, I’m still having the time of my life and getting the job done in the best way that I can.

I treat my own job and duties with the same sense of drive and determination as if it were my own personal business to care for. And it really is. Perhaps it’s just me, or my generation, or my upbringing. I am hoping it is not just a generational thing that will someday be gone forever. Having this type of mindset should really be the norm and not the exception. Some day I really do hope that someone else will pick up my mantle and carry forward with the same sense of pride and care that I’ve come to enjoy and expect from myself. My faith has played a crucial role. 

Sometimes we sell short the generations behind us as being uncaring or lazy. As with any generation I’m sure there is some of that at play. But I see a bright future in the midst of some shaky and dark things in this world when I see innovators and those that are “up and coming”. Our followers will certainly face new and different challenges in every aspect of life. But I look forward to seeing if what my generation modeled will be repeated or built upon, in new and exciting ways of innovation.

As I begin the fall of my life, my calendar and some days my body still screams that it really spring time. Away with the dead of winter. With anticipation we watch the explosion of newness in everything around us as the plants wake up and start singing. And with the new chorus comes color and beauty and tons more oxygen to fill our lungs again. The whole process is refreshing. Seasonal change is one of the wonders of life (and death). It’s a stark reminder that out of death can spring forth new life.

So even though my driver license now says I’m older, I refuse to fall prey to the dullness and negativity of getting old. I choose to be happy and fulfilled and complete. And out of my own “deadness” I look for new and green and colorful life as I travel toward the winter of my days.  

Ready to Retire? Always!!!

Well, today we say farewell to my good buddy Curtis. I’ve had the privilege of working with Mr. Curtis for almost 4 years. When I walked into this place for the first time (through what I thought must have been the back door to the business) I was smack in the middle of the customer service department. I was there looking to interview for a new job and Mr. Curtis was the first person that greeted me.

It really helps when you walk into a new place seeking employment to find some like Mr. Curtis. Whatever fear and trembling I must have felt was tempered quickly by the ease of style and friendly character of this fellow. While waiting for the person interviewing me, it was only a few sentences in that I and my buddy were talking food and especially BBQ. Funny how God uses people and passions together very quickly, isn’t it?

Well, I ended up getting the job. And I worked in a different building but shortly thereafter we moved to another location and all of us were finally all together. It was here that I learned about the life and adventures of Curtis. And what a storied life! I thought I had done a lot of things in my time. But I met my match.

Once you meet Curtis, you will never be the same. And if you’ve met him you will understand (without a doubt) that he has a deep and abiding faith in our God. And yes we do share the same One and only God, expressed in the form of Jesus the Christ.

Speaking of Jesus, one of Curtis’s common questions is to anyone he knows is this – “Did you know that Jesus loves you and I do too?” I would kid him at times and say “I sure hope so!” Or I might tell him “I know Jesus does, but I’m not sure about you.”

He ends all Facebook or email messages with “Love Ya”. Now it takes a real “manly man” to boldly tell someone (anyone) that he Loves You. But that’s how he rolls. And it is his signature.

He told me last week that he would be moving on to greener pastures this week and move to the retirement home. Well, at least he has plans of staying home more. And fishing. And singing and whistling and humming. And doing just about anything he wants to.

But I have a suspicion that as he enters this new phase of fun that God will have some new things for Mr. Curtis to be involved in. And I’m sure it will be spreading good news somewhere in his world.

We all have “stories” to tell about our lives. But Curtis really does have a life changing story of redemption. He’d be the first to tell you that he was a real stinker in his earlier life. And it wasn’t just doing all the wrong things. He was a real life agnostic. Webster’s defines this with several flowery words. Doubter, Scoffer, Cynic, Skeptic, Unbeliever.
agnostic – a person who claims that they cannot have true knowledge about the existence of God (but does not deny that God might exist)
It’s interesting that the descriptors of such a person seem to all be negative. But the Curtis that I know is anything but negative. So how’d that change happen?
It was a complex, yet simple, change that he attributes only to God’s “wonder working power”. Not only was Curtis ill and close to death more than once, but he was despondent, depressed and pretty much without hope. Yet in the midst of his pain, someone kept praying for and encouraging Mr. Curtis that he’d turn to God for help and healing. Finally Curtis did “simply” turn to God for his “complex and complete healing power”. I can’t recall how many years ago that was, but the main point is, it was not a temporary “fix”.
God took that piece of clay that was broken and made it pliable again. And what he reconstructed was a “man after God’s own heart”.
I didn’t know the old Curtis Shelton. I only know the redeemed man that God healed and changed. Happy Trails my friend! I know you’ll keep telling the Good News of God’s redeeming power.