Monday, January 7, 2013


That’s my new word: Abide. It came at me from all directions. Some of your might know that “Be Still” has haunted me for years. (Read about the beginning of the story on our website

At first it felt like a 2x4 across the head reminding me that I wasn’t in charge and really had no control over much of what happened to me. The last onslaught of “Be Still” was when I went to visit daughter Kim in Texas for a long weekend to attend a women’s retreat. It came at me from ALL directions—spoken, through music, and through people I met there. But this time, instead of feeling like a hammer blow, it felt more like confirmation that I was actually doing it and had been for some time. It still appears on occasion as a soothing affirmation.

Now it’s “Abide.” The dictionary defines it as follows:
  1. to remain; continue; stay
  2. to have one's abode; dwell; reside
  3. to continue in a particular condition, attitude, relationship, etc.; last.

I think the message for me was to continue to be still and trust that the very best would happen, regardless of the current “reality.”

So on the first day of my unemployment in 2009, I followed that old philosophy “begin as you wish to end.” I had put off exercising and getting in better shape. I’d made lots of excuses: I was too stressed, I didn’t have time, etc.

So the first order of business was to begin a serious attempt at getting healthy. I was committed to improving not only my health but also my outlook. I’d felt sluggish which only exaggerated the mild depression I’d felt ever since the announcement of the failure of my former employer several months previously.

Next was a trip to the marina for a walk. When she lived here in California, Kim and I had done this every Saturday morning. It was our time to talk and at the same time enjoy this beautiful place we live. I’d rarely done it since she moved to Texas. That activity belonged to the two of us. But now it was time to own it for myself.
That morning was gray and overcast with just a hint of mist. Perfect walking weather. I plugged my headphones into my iPod, and strode out, listening to my favorite music. I had nearly 8000 “favorites” loaded on the iPod. (Closer to 10,000 today.) The day’s random selection included religious, classical, soft rock, a show tune, new age—just what I needed.

I started at the coffee place and headed toward the Ocean Institute. Once there, I sat on a bench and enjoyed the antics of a baby sea lion on one of the rocks. Then I started back. The “Spirit of Dana Point” was crowded with a group of school-age kids and another group was waiting to board the “Pilgrim.” I was reminded how very lucky we are to have these magnificent tall ships in our harbor.

As I passed Baby Beach, an elegant great blue heron stood in the water, head stretched high as if he were posing just for me. Then he began to walk in the shallow water, ripples moving out as he stepped, his beak occasionally bobbing for morsels under the surface. Abiding.

Throughout the morning, I repeated the mantra Kim and I always said at some point during our walks together: “People spend lots of money to enjoy this place, and we get to live here!”

I still enjoy walking at the marina. On a recent morning, Larry and I took a long walk until it began to drizzle. We enjoyed lunch at What A Dish, our favorite breakfast and lunch place. Abiding.

I found over time that I missed having company on my walks, so since I retired last year, I’ve been taking a two-mile one each weekday morning with several friends. Not only is it good discipline, but I have a chance to catch up with what’s happening with each of them. Abiding.

I did a contract last year and had no time to walk with my friends in the mornings or at the marina. Since I've gotten back to it, I feel blessed beyond measure. God’s still in charge, so I don’t have to be. Each day is truly a gift, and I treasure every one.

Today is your gift as well. So be blessed, and abide in it.

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