Just another traveler on life’s highway, hanging out in the slow lane. It’s quiet, it’s peaceful; beyond the horizon is rest calling my name. Green pastures, still waters, my cup overflows.
Living in the “golden years” is not what the 30 year-old version of me envisioned in 1977. I blame no one other than me for the money I blew on shiny new cars, the time I wasted sitting on a bar stool, and the relationships I trashed in pursuit of good times. Forty years ago I had the rest of my life to create a retirement stash, to find that perfect profession, and to settle down with a compatible mate. So much for dreaming the dream because that’s all it was. Just a pipe dream with no foundation.
Through the grace of sustained sobriety I have reconciled all of that and no longer beat myself up over missed opportunities. Hopefully, I have gained a wealth of wisdom and acceptance in building a foundation. But, the fact remains that these “golden years” are a day-to-day struggle and a challenge to survive on minimal financial resources.
Thank God the spiritual resources have kicked in to give me unbounding faith in God’s goodness and provision. In retrospect I know for a fact that every one of my needs has always been fulfilled and most of my wants have also. But, this old man standing by the sea of life watching the trappings of affluence and properity pass by is a daily reminder that somehow I have missed the worldly boat. That gives me a choice: 1) I can stand on the dock patiently waiting for my ship to come in or, 2) I can grab the oars and start rowing my own boat. Very simple solution, don’t you think?
And I don’t have to do this by myself. Spiritual blessings are built on a recovery fellowship, on the concept of giving and receiving, and on the readings of ancient scriptures. In the wisdom of the Tao Te Ching:
“The Tao is like a well: used but never used up……empty yet infinitely capable. The more you use it, the more it produces.”
In Christian scripture Jesus said in Matthew 6:
“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them……take no thought saying, What shall we eat? or what shall we drink? or wherewithal shall we be clothed?…For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things….
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
The earthly paths of Jesus and the Buddha exemplify the kingdom and teach me the righteousness to seek. That righteousness is not a moral discipline; rather, it is a way of living which honors and upholds the rights of all creation. Both the “Path” of the Buddha and the “Way” of Jesus trust in the mercy and goodness of humanity to meet the physical needs of their temples. They depended on the promises of a Sovereign Being to feed them spiritually and lead them to a resurrected life in the realm of the Spirit. They taught me that when the demands of self-awareness are subjugated to the promises of a higher power, the needs of this world become faint in comparison to the provisions afforded by faith and trust in the surrounding and indwelling Light. I am, after all, a spirit housed in a temporal body. This flesh which I carry is but a fleeting moment in the universal consciousness of eternal spirit. I no longer chase after the lies of the “golden years” but, instead seek the golden nuggets of ancient wisdom and truth.