My goal in life is to retire
because the work I do no longer needs doing.
To become obsolete.
Walking the fields, strolling the sidelines,
and as far as I can see
children are playing:
determined and skillful, sweating and graceful,
completely exhausted, and deliriously happy.
No yelling. No carding. No injuries.
No knee braces. No ankle wraps.
No ice. No crutches. No splints. No ambulances.
No stoppage time.
Every game starting and stopping at the whistle,
according to the running clock.
Oh, there would be running.
And jumping and kicking and passing and shooting
And tackling and intercepting and tipping over the bar.
The game would go until the final whistle.
A winner named. A loser declared.
Players, both elated and defeated, celebrating
because they get to play again.
How I long to stand by and watch,
silent, smiling and unnecessary;
to hang up my cleats, stack my cones, closet my ladder and rings.
To take a seat and watch the children play,
as I was meant to do.
If I had my way,
I’d be out of a job.
I just love opening the package of pretty much anything. New, sparkling, fresh, full, smooth, untouched, pristine. I have never been a consignment store shopper, perhaps for this reason. Call me spoiled. 99.9% of the world certainly would.
But once it’s opened, I rarely throw it away. Yes, consumables I toss, but I recycle what I can. Clothing that’s too small, I give away. Out of style, my kids would tell you, is likely still in my closet. If it still fits, I still have it. If it needs repair, I mend it (or ask someone to help who is more gifted in this area than I). Tossing something that is still serviceable goes against the grain.
Apparently, I come by this honestly. This week I am down visiting with my Dad who lives in the Atlanta suburbs. He has been a golfer (of sorts) for 50+ years. As long as I have known him 🙂 And now, at 78, he still plays regularly with a group of guys. His participation over the last few years has been interrupted by some serious health scares. Truth be told, we should have lost him several times over.
We’re talking after his Sunday round about simplifying club selection.
“Inside 120, I reach for an iron,” I say.
“Well…I have a problem from 90 down to 40 yards. I use my 34 degree metal and just choke down. I shank the rest of my irons.”
I’m laughing at the thought of this nearly 80 year old man, bunting the ball all the way onto the green. Mind you, he carries the regulation 14 clubs, but he only uses about 5 of them. If they don’t work, he shelves them and makes do with the one that does. He improvises.
“Have you considered correcting your swing?” I ask, in not exactly these words. Correction is not something he takes easily to.
“No one can see me hitting it with the hozzle,” he says. (which is what causes shanking)
So, since no one can see it happening, this must be out of his control. Therefore, compensation is the solution. Enter: 34 degree metal. (what I used to call “a wood.”) Right on down to 40 yards.
While this cracks me up, it’s completely logical to him. He just makes do with what works. And that works. He is a self-sufficient guy and this is sufficiency.
Reminds me of Paul, “for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” ~ (Phil 4:11) Another way to say that the solution is there, whatever your need. Trust this. Find it and make do.
This golf-specific compensation might go unnoticed if I didn’t also observe it in most everything my dad does. He has been a fix-it guy all his life. Replacing things is just not his way. Doesn’t work? Well, modify it so it does.
Apparently, this nature of my dad’s has been passed along to me, right down to my “mom jeans” that still hang in the closet. And actually, to my visit with my dad this week. I look at this man, who in his sleeping, dreams about the days when the world rewarded his clever capacity to problem solve and turn companies around. Now, he sits in Starbucks most mornings and converses with folks, some of whom need a bit of life guidance. He’s still fixing. Toss and replace just aren’t in his vocabulary.
This is so contrary to the world I see whizzing by my window. The one that rushes for the next iPhone, the latest upgrade, the newest fashion. Market forces, new start-ups and trending on twitter drive the pace. Whatever has gone before is obsolete. That would include my dad. And me, soon to follow.
Obsolescence. Waste. Worthlessness. I feel sure these were never God’s idea. Yes, we decline. But when we’re no longer shiny, new and pristine, we are still serviceable.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” ~ 2 Cor 4:16-18.
What we will be remains to be seen … In the meantime, I’m gonna see if I can help Dad with those shanks. I think he can still break 90. Whether he can ever shoot his age is up for grabs.