Friday, 22 January 2016

Retiring as CEO of the Universe: Thanks Marilyn

OK. So, two weeks ago I travelled east to Knowlton to visit Margaret (my 93 year old friend and adopted Mum) at Manoir Lac Brome. Margaret's niece Marilyn dropped by after lunch for a while. Marilyn, a Baptist and wife of a Baptist pastor, announced in our post-Christmas discussion of busy-ness and general exhaustion, that she has decided to retire as CEO of the universe.

Images in this instalment are from Google images

YES! That's it! I'm going to retire as CEO of the universe, too. Actually, there is normally only one CEO of a company, but I wonder - how many CEO's of the universe are out there? Hmmm... Ready to admit it, some of y'all?

Could it be about control? Illusions of control? Fear of the unknown or letting go?

I'm swimming again after two months of protecting my eye after cataract surgery (which went really, really well), the pool being closed over the holidays, and resistance to getting my butt up and out the door at 6:20 Monday, Wednesday, Friday. 

Joy! I did it! 

Water is a place of healing, insights, exercise, laughter, sharing with special friends, and practising my French. Ahhh... I'd forgotten how good it is. Today I swam 30 lengths and then another 10 at the end (adds up to a kilometre). Did my lymphedema exercises. Mmmm... Feels good... very good... 

Then I stopped by to see Denise, who at 91 was swimming 40 lengths three times a week until she had a stroke in November. A 'small' stroke and she's home again... and we talked about struggles ... life and death and ... well important stuff. I tried to explain about tectonic plates - "plaques tectoniques" we found using her iPad.

Periodically my internal tectonic plates shift. The shifting of earthly tectonic plates results in earthquakes, tsunamis, and forms of chaos and destruction. And so it is with the personal kind.

This time it's been six months of losses through death and otherwise, challenges seen and unforeseen, disappointments, health scares, questions about the future ... well - no different from others' lives ;-) but growth in each of us calls us to feel, live through, and be open to the changes that will come.  Last time my tectonic plates shifted so dramatically was eleven years ago when I had breast cancer.

Insight in the pool - ongoing insight - but fresh today - I've spent much of my life hoping someone could make me feel safe. It grows out of deaths, insecurities and chaos in my early life. Children do what we need to to survive. We may create illusions of safety - long desperately, consciously or unconsciously, for a sense of safety. I've tried in various ways through my 69 years to convince myself that I was and am safe.

Guess what?! This world is not a safe place. No one can make me safe. And please don't tell me God will make me safe or make me feel safe. That can be a cop-out. It maybe true, but still can be used as a cop-out in the sense of removing who I am and the struggles to become more and more human, aware, and free. The world is NOT safe. Period. Living isn't a safe occupation. If you've heard me say or write this before, forgive me. I'm not finished with it yet. 

Marilyn came along at just the right time with just the right message. She's retiring as CEO of the universe. Me, too. We aren't in control. We are never going to be in control. And attempts to keep control aren't good for our health or for the people around us. 

So - we live through the shifting of our tectonic plates. 

a willingness to live through the shifts
a sense of humour when possible ;-)  

Also required: The holy trinity of more exercise, good eating habits AND good companions.
 (from Sister Helen Claire, SSJD in an email yesterday)

In case you have trouble reading this - it's kind of dark:
"Sometimes life takes us places we never expected to go. and in those places God writes a story we never thought would be ours."

Hmmmm...  ongoing stories... 


  1. Similar thoughts had been going through my mind last week as I too struggle! This was well timed from my perspective.!! I needed to hear this! Love the term "tectonic plates" describes exactly. Thank you once again...

  2. Listened to the Wototo children's choir at St. Paul's last night. Really young children who could sing and dance like you wouldn't believe, plus big smiles. My tectonic plates are only jiggling a little today.
    Enjoy your time away.