On Being Irrelevant
Due to cyclical drought, our pond is a low as I’ve ever seen it in the 12 years we’ve lived on ‘The Funny Farm’. It fell about five feet during the drought of 2008, a year after we acquired this unique fourteen acre patch of earth, which was a cause for great concern. Of course, we were only seeing it, based on our new eyes perspective, as it was in that moment, fostered by our lack of experience. I personally fretted over it, prayed about it and worried about the pond inhabitants, as though I had been appointed the official Pond Overseer.
Eventually the rains came back and the pond filled quickly and the fish, turtles, herons, geese, ducks and things I don’t know about, carried on as though nothing had happened.
Over the past eleven years, the pond has stayed fairly level, with only occasional dips below full pool. Then, this year, after a long rainy winter/spring, the rains stopped again and the pond slowly began to recede. What is different this time, though, is my lack of concern. I’m just not.
Well, for one thing, I am older, which means I am tired in general but also I’m weary of fretting over things, especially things I have no control over, things that have managed to survive through all manner of crisis, whether I am fretting or not. This pond has been here, rising and falling with the natural cycles of wet and dry since it was formed as a cow tank in the early 50s for the real farm of which this once was a functional part. Thus it has history, it has a ‘before me’ life and rhythm that flicks me in the category of irrelevant like I was a gnat.
However, at age 72, after wrestling with the inevitable for a couple of years, I find being irrelevant is a huge blessing. Even though a decade ago I was still fighting the fight, resisting the concept of declining, of retiring, of becoming unnecessary, of striving to maintain, I’ve now passed through another threshold and I’ve not only made peace with this new paradigm, I realize what freedoms I now can enjoy.
- I can’t fix the world but I don’t have to.
- I can’t leave this earthly plane with all my kids perfectly aligned in their lives.
- I don’t have to speak my opinion anymore. Who cares?
- I don’t have to fret about what the world thinks of me - only what God thinks.
- I don’t have to decorate for a season. The seasons are amazingly temporary.
- I don’t have to look good for my age. >BIG ONE<
Now it’s okay for me to be exactly who I am, warts and all, instead of trying to be what this illusion-based culture, women’s magazines, AARP, social media, and botoxed, ancient movie stars redesigned by plastic surgery, think I should be. No nude photos to prove I still have it are necessary.
This old pond, then, is analogous to how I see the sum of my life. The importance of what and who I have been as well as who I am, is mostly below the surface, unseen by anyone else but God. I served my purpose, with no need for recognition, fanfare or applause. I survived all manner of tribulation through the grace of God who owns and controls everything. The world will go on, no better no worse, when I bid adieu. What is there to fret over?
My oldest granddaughter wrote a poem in high school as we had only just begun to discover the somewhat anomalous life on a pond. I read it now and see a bigger picture. Funny how even old eyes can see with new perspective.
As I type this, the rains have returned and the pond is rising.
“But when the fury and the flash is done, they carry on with what they have begun.”