This is the question I have been asking myself for a while now. I’ve had to retire at age 48.
And yes, that really sucks.
I loved my job.
I loved my work.
I loved my calling.
Since having to leave work because of my health, I’ve had nothing but time on my hands. And when I have all kinds of time, I have all kinds of thoughts.
Lately the main one running through my head is ‘who the heck am I now?’ My identity, at least in my own mind, was very much wrapped up in what I did for a living. I was the shelter guy. I was the guy who knew a lot about housing and homelessness. I was the guy who did lots of speaking to different groups about what we do and how we do it in our shelters.
But now that’s gone. I don’t have the juice to do it anymore. And yes, that makes me sad.
Who am I?
I am a husband. But right now because I have to live in this apartment I get to see my wife for about an hour a day and sleep alone in the hospital bed that’s in my apartment.
I am a father. But right now because I live so far away I get to see my daughter once or twice a week.
I am a friend. But right now I get to see my friends a few times a week at most.
I am a member of my church. But right now I feel like I’m on the other side of the world from it.
I am a neighbour. But right now even though the hood I’m in is quite cool and hip, it’s not ‘my’ hood. (I do like my new place and they treat me good here. I’ve even begun getting to know a couple of guys, one of which has designed about 700 album covers and even won a Juno for it. I quite enjoy his stories about all of his musical interactions with musicians I know of and like listening to a lot. And the internet has verified that he’s not just full of crap:)
I’m a writer. I do get to do that for a while each day which brings me joy and purpose, until my fingers rebel and I have to stop.
I’m a spiritual director. I’ll do more of that once the dust settles a little.
All of these things bring me joy and purpose. But at the moment with the enormous amount of change and transition in life, none of these things are really humming along smoothly.
I watch a significant amount of television. I spend even more time than usual on social media these days. I scoot around a lot on my motorized wheelchair (the odometer says I’ve driven 228kms thus far though I’ve learned how to stand and pivot to and from the chair which is a huge deal for me)
I eat more. I exercise less. I stare out my window a lot…
Who am I? What is my purpose?
I guess I need to work that out and be patient while I do it. Thankfully, I have encountered a song through church called ‘Who am I?’ It’s by Christian band called Casting Crowns (not to be mistaken for Counting Crows…)
I’ll end with some of the song lyrics that do bring me some peace; most days anyway.
“Who am I?
That the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
…You hear me when I’m calling
Lord You catch me when I’m falling.
…You told me who I am.
I am yours
I am yours
I am yours”
I am yours.