Cogitation 32/210 Saturday 10 August 2019 Last November we sold our home and moved to Greencroft Goshen, a continuing care retirement community. The physical distance from Elkhart to Goshen is short (12 miles); the psychical measure is less precise, more like a pathway subject to the nitrogen flames that fill a hot air balloon.
From time to time I think about our move–some aspects of which are still in process. It’s not quite like an earthquake and its aftershocks. No, not nearly that. It’s a move we chose we planned, we made, knowing that we could have stayed in the home where we had lived for 42 years for some time longer. We also knew the change would open new options for a purposeful, more carefree and thriving life.
(Full disclosure: I worked at Greencroft Goshen, a not-for-profit CCRC for 10 years before retirement, almost 12 years ago). So, why did we move? There are the usual physical reasons, like not having to negotiate two flights of stairs as in our previous home–which we loved dearly, dearly. Or cleaning eaves, shoveling snow, and sundry such tasks–which we did faithfully and with satisfaction.
What I like about a retirement community is just that: it’s a community within a larger community. We have freedom to divest ourselves from former things and invest in the greater non-material side of life. I came across this phrase this week: “With age comes a freedom and clarity about the things you love.”
What you can love with greater freedom and clarity in later life includes family, friends, hobbies, faith, nature, service–things that make a deepening difference in your life and in the lives of others.
With aging comes greater dependence and interdependence, not just some sort of change-resistant independence. I like that Greencroft is a not-for-profit CCRC, which means the programs and services are geared to the benefit of residents as stakeholders rather than for stockholders. Living freer of usual obligations of home ownership opens the window to common cause with others within a continuum of care. We are making our home here in independent housing and will have access to other levels of care as the need may arise.
Art reveals one human story
Part of what I think about at this senior stage is how other people have invested in my life–parents, a long line of ancestors, the greater public, people of old, including the heritage and legacy of native peoples. I trust that with some degree of freedom and clarity of age I’m shaping a legacy of love for the young and unborn and the world they will inherit.
There’s a role for all to play
This week I read Climate Church, Climate World, by Jim Antal (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018). Antal makes no bones as to what’s wrong with the world and the redemptive roles waiting for greater response by religious faiths. Jesus, he said, “offered us a building plan, not an evacuation plan.” In one of his sermons he quoted G.K. Chesterton. When asked what was the most wrong with the world, Chesterton replied, “I am.” We all have something to do to recognize, own and right the wrong.
I quoted Abraham Cowley in the caption above. Here’s another phrase to guide us in reducing our investment in both selfish behaviors and self-centered fear: “Fill all the glasses there, for why / Should every creature drink but I, / Why, man of morals, tell me why?” I take the qualifier phrase from Antal’s sub-chapter section, “Self-giving love in place of self-centered fear.”
May order, beauty, fullness, peace and wonder in decisions, steps and musings, large and small, this week, fill our hearts and minds and hands.