🎋 God is my Boss 🎋

A chalkboard with the words " grr " written in green chalk.

Each day around 6 pm, my wife and I dutifully tread the 500 feet from our cottage to the dining room in “The Big House.” That is the nickname the residents of our retirement community call the enormous building that is the home of most of our residents. The people that staff the dining room are always polite and eager to serve, trying to make our dining experience enjoyable. The average age of our community is 82, so they are dealing primarily with people that like to complain. I know this because I am on the Dining Committee, so I often am told what is wrong with the service, the food, and how long it takes to be served.

All of us in our community are aware of how blessed we are, and yet we still complain. My wife hasn’t cooked a meal in almost two years. I have absolutely no home maintenance responsibilities, so I get to spend my time doing what I want. I play chess, practice guitar, walk the local tracks, and work out at our gym. Constantly, I have to ask myself, what have I done to deserve the happiness that follows me daily? 

Is it because of hard work, making good decisions, living a healthy life, and choosing the right person to spend my life with? I know it’s more than a combination of all those things. I know it because I have seen others do the same thing, and their lives turned out vastly different. So, why me? Why have I prospered when others did not?

I believe it’s because I have always chosen to work like God is my boss. I have stumbled along the way, but I have always worked my way back to that concept, and he has blessed me immeasurably. I have had my share of bad luck, and I have the wounds to show for it, but I have always kept sight of who controls my life, and I depend on Him daily. Winston Churchill said it so well, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Well said, Sir Winston.

💫 I read recently that depression is a malfunction of the instrument we use to judge reality. I think most of us have suffered from depression at various times in our lives. Often, it is of our own making. Other times not so much so. We become good at masking our sadness so others can’t see it, but it’s like the hidden hot water heater on the upper floor; eventually, everyone notices it’s leaking.

That begs the question; if depression is a malfunction of something internal, is happiness also a malfunction? We have all been around people who seem eternally optimistic, never letting negativity or sadness into their lives. I desperately try to be that person with moderate success. It’s because I monitor the news daily, and I see the devastation in Ukraine, the callousness of Russia, and the many people worldwide who have trouble getting enough food every day. When you notice those things, enjoying the fruits of your life becomes practically impossible.

I prefer to think that cheerfulness is my normal default state, but that is not always true. I have concluded that life is filled with trade-offs, that they are everywhere and inescapable. How we navigate these trade-offs, rather than ignoring them, is what we need to do to have a good life. Octavia Butler said, “No single answer will solve our future problems. There are thousands of answers, at least. You can be one of them if you choose to be.”

💫 In my missive last week (Talking to Strangers), I included an essay on envy written by an artificial intelligence chatbot. I asked the readers to determine which one of the three included articles was written by the chatbot. My daughter-in-law (JoAnn) responded best: “When you write, I read every word with interest. When I read the one about envy, I got bored halfway through! It held no warmth; it didn’t feel personal”.

I have only been contacted by a few people, so most people can’t tell when it’s me or the chatbot. Or, as some may think, they don’t care. I hope that’s not the case 😊. With the newfound abilities of the chatbot, I could have it write my missives for me, but that would be a waste of everyone’s time, including mine. My articles are meant to be a record of my thoughts at this particular time in my life. My goal is to have family members read something that I wrote 25 years from now and be able to say something about me and the life I’ve lived. A sort of family history. One of my granddaughters has expressed an interest in keeping my website going upon my transition to the other side, and I’m confident she will.

I don’t have a single letter from my parents or grandparents that I can read. Nothing that lets me know what they were doing on any day of their life and how they felt about their life. My family can never say that about me. I have missives on my website all the way back to 2007, plus I keep a daily journal that goes back to 1998. That would be too much about me for anybody, but having too much is better than having nothing at all. Oh, how I would love to have a letter from my mother or father. I have always known they loved me. I just wanted to see it in writing.

Dolly Parton said, “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” My family will know who I am, and I’m doing it on purpose 😊.