My third postcard says, “WE ARE REALLY ENJOYING GETTING TO KNOW THE ORDINARY PEOPLE WHO LIVE AROUND HERE.”
I am grateful every day for the great brain and the habits of work that are my legacy from my parents. I know how to work hard, to push through to the end of the task, to expect a great deal of myself, to take on whatever life presents. What I am not so good at is saying “No,” or understanding that I have choices, options. That sometimes enough is enough. That being ordinary is blessed and full of grace.
Recently I had a dream about my father. The dream reminded me of the dramatic change that occurred in Dad when he moved into retirement at age 62. All his life he had done what he believed he needed to do. He worked hard to provide for his family, do his part in our life together, and parent with quiet intentionality. He did countless gifts of service in the community, and was often called into a leadership role.
And then one day, in the usual pattern of those times, he retired. All of a sudden he seemed to go from being an outstanding leader in the community to just an “ordinary guy.” He worked part time at a fun job, he and Mom spent weeks RV-ing their way around the country, he played golf as often as he could, and he took great delight in being with family and friends.
Dad was one of the lucky ones. I think he had it in him all the time. He was unique and his gift to others always bore the stamp of that uniqueness. He gave a lot and he was a standout in the community. But somehow he knew that while he was unique, he was not special. He was always just an ordinary man. That was enough for him and he was able to recapture that ordinariness in a very holy way at the end of his life.
My way of living this out in my third third is to ask myself this question: Am I doing this – whatever it is – for my ego or for my soul? Oh, we need our egos. They help us manage the external practical things of life. But for the internal journey of the soul, the ego never fails but to get in the way. It reaches out its hand, grasping at specialness, when what the soul really needs is to settle back into the bliss of Enough. I. . . you. . .we are enough in our uniqueness. We do not need to be special.
Next: The Fourth Postcard
Previous: [The First Postcard]
This is the third in a series of four postcards from the Third Third by Mary Anne Reed.
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