Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Biker in the Making and Free Thinking

I'll often use my breaks at work to write my blog but I'm finding little time for that lately. Between the Oshkosh airshow traffic traversing our airspace and the smallest staffing numbers I've ever worked with I've had much less laptop time. I'm not complaining but the thought of retirement has never been more tempting. I think back to all of the false starts I've had with my plans for retirement and how I've been reluctant to call it quits because I just wasn't feeling like I was ready to be done. I always felt I'd know when the time was right and the feeling I'm getting now is that this time it is for real. I'm still focused on my January 2nd date and barring some medical issue I think I'll make it. 161 dtg and no more.

Tammy and I had a mini date last week when Tammy's good friend Brenda offered to watch Elaine for 4 hours so we could go out and spend some time together. That was so nice of her. Brenda is also a nurse. We made the most of our time: a walk around Lake of the Isles, lunch at Chili's and a little shopping at Costco. Thanks again, Brenda!

Rachel had her first taste of distance cycling when she joined a volunteer group she was a part of in college (STLF) for a two day ride from Kenosha, Wisconsin to Chicago, Ilinois. They did some volunteer projects along the way similar to what they did on their spring break trips across the country. We had done some rides together over the last couple of weeks to help get her conditioned and I think it helped.

She's no stranger to the bike having gotten considerable use out of her own bike before getting a car but she told me a few nights ago that she wants to do even more riding now. Good for her!

In keeping with my blog being a place that I'll be returning to in years and decades from now I'd like to make mention of where my head is at with respect to my faith in God and my politics.

I grew up in a family that attended church each Sunday and I more or less continued that routine when I left home. Even while serving in the Navy I'd sometimes attend church at the small chapel on base when my ship was in port in San Diego. It felt right to do in a centering or grounding sort of way.

That's all changed now thanks to a takeover of our congregations by a conservative ideology that has absolutely no resemblance to Jesus. None! I've never been so far from the church as I am today and I see very little chance that I'll be making my way back any time soon if ever again.

I've become much more of a free-thinker who now wonders if my previous beliefs were shaped more by man in a Fox News sort of warped way rather than by what God intended.

The most disturbing thing to me though is the marrying of religion and politics. I saw where a Facebook friend and member of our former small-group posted the graphic to the left on her wall the other day. It's this sort of thing that has me so disappointed in the direction my Christian brothers and sisters are moving. This kind of thing happens much more often than it should.

Former GOP presidential nominee Barry Goldwater once said:

“Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them.”

It's gotten to the point where I'm spending less and less time online, preferring to avoid having to see such utter ridiculousness and the need to feel I have to respond to it. It's not worth it. I'm much happier without it.

On a lighter note, I did a tour of our yard a couple weeks ago...

A stroll around our yard to check out our gardens at the end of the first week of July. I try to do this yearly so I'll have something to look back on the see how changes evolve over the years.


Rich Kessler said...

Kevin, I'm sorry your congregation seems to have been taken over by people with who you disagree, especially in the religious/spiritual/moral sense. I've been in that same spot, and it tore apart a group I really enjoyed. We searched and searched until we found a spiritual home. One that fit better with our beliefs and actions. It's not everything we wished for, it doesn't operate in a manner we find as fair and open as would hoped for, and yet it does provide "community". Something we treasure and were searching for. I imagine, just from what you've shared, and this flag picture, it must be painful and frustrating for you. In this large and diverse religious community in and around the Twin Cities there must be a home for you somewhere that not only meets your needs but offers you the opportunity to share and grow in your heart. One that backs up beliefs with actions and deeds. On retirement - My guess is a little while after you retire you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner. Having a different schedule to revolve your life around is amazing. You have many talents and interests. Having an additional 40 hours a week to indulge yourself really can change your life around. Good luck!

Kevin Gilmore said...

Thanks for you comment, Rich. Sorry I was a little slow in publishing it. I just now saw it.

Tammy also thinks that there must be a church out there for us and I'm sure you're both right. I don't expect to find a church that meshes 100% with my beliefs but I do expect to make my way back to a church community at some point. It's not something I want to force. It'll happen when the time is right.

I'm ready in every aspect to be done at the end of the year. We were at a neighborhood party last night and I had a friend joke with me that I've been talking retirement for quite a while now, implying that he'll believe it when he sees it. He's right. But I've painted myself into a corner so to speak on this one and I really do have to retire at the end of the year or I'll lose a boatload of annual leave I carried over from last year. Our staffing numbers are so low that there's no way I'd be let out of the schedule to use it if I wanted to extend. It was my own little poison pill I built into this most recent decision to retire. Plus, I'm ready!

Yes, I'm definitely looking forward to having all of the extra time and not having to look at my watch so much, and catching up on my sleep!!