I haven't been myself lately. Wait. On second thought, maybe I have been myself but haven't wanted to recognize the grieving, unmotivated, and lonely parts of myself that have been showing up everyday for the past twelve days. Let me backtrack a bit. On Sept. 3rd, a rather unexpected turn of events took place. Our beloved, nearly 12-year-old, Maltese had what we think was a stroke. Just 30 hours later we had to put her to sleep. My husband and I are now adjusting to a new "normal" and continue to grieve the loss of our Lucy. We are fortunate to have so many dear friends and family members who call and email with condolences. Several people have asked when we will be getting another dog. That's not in the cards right now. And while knowing that fact, I've found myself thinking about other ways to fulfill my need to be of service to someone other than myself. I'm involved in a few groups where I can be of service in a variety of ways but it's the one-on-one connection that brings opportunities for hope and inspiration that I found my heart yearning for.
Just a few days after Lucy's death, the day before my 53rd birthday I joined the local senior center. I hear you snickering and see your eyebrows raised! And I can't say I blame you. But the Estuary Council of Seniors (don't you just love that name?) promotes healthy and active lifestyles for adults 50 and better (that’s how they actually describe it!). It’s where I’m taking a Tai Chi class and have just signed up as a Friendly Visitor to sit with, or go out to coffee with, a senior who is in need of someone to talk to, laugh with, and share stories with. My heart is doing a little dance at the thought of this latest venture in connection and service.
Finding meaning through volunteering, building and sustaining physical vitality, engaging in caring connections with others, and appreciating the goodness of life are all important keys to flourishing after 50. And that is what I intend to do - flourish! I know that grief doesn't just stop cold. I know that I will cherish the memory of Lucy and forever miss her physical presence in my life. I also know that life is hard and life is good. People are that way too.
I am continually learning to embrace the whole of me and push forward knowing that I am resilient and I am flourishing. I hope you know that you too are resilient and can flourish before and beyond 50! Now if I could just get that senior discount at the movie theater.
I had hoped to post once a week, and did for a short time. Unfortunately, my doctorate research and other obligations have taken priority over the blog. BUT, I will return soon! Some postings may be articles I've written for publication, messages I've delivered in congregational settings, or excerpts from papers written in my doctoral classes.