Gary’s back! Thank-you to all who wrote notes of encouragement when I announced that I’d stop writing this newsletter/blog for a while. This was not a sabbatical, as I may have implied. It was a hectic time of packing, selling our house and moving to temporary housing. Uncharacteristically, I cut back on my reading and we didn’t get this newsletter format revised – at least not yet.
Several years ago I spent two-days with a “life planning coach.” At his suggestion I thought back over my life and then divided this into phases such as the college years, the full-time teaching years, and the years with the American Association of Christian Counselors. Last week, when I quietly turned 80, I may have entered the final phase of my life. I am blessed with good health, a supportive family, future-looking friends and a good attitude so I don’t see the future as retirement or senior citizen years. Regardless of what comes my way, these can be grand finale years – like the final part of a fireworks display, the last act of a drama, or the concluding movement of symphonies like Beethoven’s ninth. Often grand finales are exciting and spectacular. At other times they are less jubilant, quiet, even difficult, but they too have the potential to be impressive and influential.
Recently I finally read Rick Warren’s purpose-driven life book. The revised edition is titled What on Earth am I Here For? I also read an American Psychologist (September 2014) article on meaning in life. Not surprising, the professional article was scholarly and dull in spots; Warren was practical and biblical. Both acknowledged that life is better, regardless of age or circumstances, when we have a purpose.
Of course life is rarely, if ever, easy. Apparently God didn’t intend for it to be that way. As leaders, coaches and counselors, we often are involved in helping others (and ourselves) find purpose, especially in times of crisis, transition or aging. I agree with Warren’s conclusion that we are all on earth for some purpose as long as we’re here. Do you agree? Please comment. And consider commenting again on the newsletters that will come later. It is good to hear from you – and to be back.