Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Part Four. . Reflections on Retirement After 20 Years


2008 - 2012

In 1999, I had the joy of meeting a man who had been my mentor for many years as a writer and a soul-traveler in the world of chronic illness. Tim Hansel ( You’ve Gotta Keep Dancin’ ) and his wife, Anastasia, had moved from their home in southern California to his childhood home in Seattle, Washington to care for his bedridden mother. We met. We all fell in love with each other! Tim’s abundant passion for his Lord and for choosing joy in spite of living in excruciating chronic pain for 25 years (at that time), left an imprint -- or as he would say, a Him-print --  on me and countless other lives he touched. 

I bring the Hansels into these reflections as they exemplify to the maximum people who are friends of the heart -- not an occasional passer by -- but deeply tuned in friends who we need in our lives at all times and especially during the tough times.

The Hansels moved back to California in 2006, after Tim’s mother died. We kept in close touch. Anastasia has had some occasions to fly to Seattle and she sleeps on my couch when she is in town. When I was slowly getting my life back and she was in town, she scrubbed my kitchen, bathroom, and ironed my shower curtain all out of the love and the joy of giving. Friends of the heart are also practical! Along with her ever encouraging words to me, she helped me to see with her eyes what I was unable to see with my own. Though set apart and isolated most of the time within my four walls, she believes I am doing more from my couch than many folks out and running around helter-skelter. She dubbed me, Couch Ministries. She on the other hand, crowned herself, Run Around Ministries. I would add that she is accomplishing quality encounters as she goes!
Tim and Anastasia Hansel - Seattle - 2000

I’ve mentioned Rest Ministries in past postings. My friend, Mary Lou, suggested in 2008 that I write devotionals for that ministry. I had been receiving them daily for years. I submitted some work and was asked to join the online writing staff. The people I have met from my couch  have changed my life: their courage, their stories, their inspiration. To combat extra dizziness when using my laptop computer, I have to lie down on my couch to take the pressure off of my head. I have worn out one couch ( my friend, Anastasia, reminds me ) and am on my way to wearing out my second one!

Over the past 3 and one half years I have compiled some of my writings into a manuscript along with my photos that image the message in each text. I am seeking publication but part of this writing journey took me to southern California. In 2010, I took yet another step in faith when I attempted air travel for the first time since the events of 2005. A major remodel of my apartment required that I be out of it for one month. A few places where I hoped to stay in my area did not work out. I called Anastasia who said, “What time can I pick you up at the airport?” 

Tim had died in 2009 but I sat on his couch in their home amidst many of the loving mementos that had been a part of his earthly life. I worked on my manuscript knowing that his inspiration was still making a Him-print in my life. It is not the book we had hoped to write together. Then again, it may just be!
Hansel Home - September, 2010 - Southern California


A noteworthy friend re-entered my life in 2005 after years of our being out of touch. He, as a heart friend, holds a place all his own deep in my life, one of God’s treasures to me. He was broken in spirit as he gradually came to know of particular events in my life. It got us to sharing, in our writings to each other, of God and hope and how one keeps trusting when life has not worked out according to our plans. We shared of other things, as well. He  encouraged me to get back to my writing and, gradually, I was able to do that. A few years into our correspondence, he opened up about significant pain in parts of his own life. 

Soul connections and heart connections go deep. Unconditional love can take time to receive when one has never experienced it before. What a glorious gift it is to both give and to receive it, to find oneself turned in to somebody loved. We carry this mutual connection, thankful to God who ordained the timing of when and how it evolved. Our prayers continue daily for one another’s needs, hopes, and the acceptance of what cannot be changed. They are wrapped up in prayer kites -- his term -- that we launch into the skies and right into God’s embrace until the time when He reveals His answers.


Thank you for walking with me through my post-retirement musings and some life events. I end these ocean meditations, from a couch here in Oregon, with thoughts of not only the friends literally mentioned in these blog entries, but many others who brighten my life and who inspire me to look forward to what God will be doing beyond this milestone year. 

May you each know the joys of being somebody loved, by the God who holds each one of us close if we let Him, and by those He places in our lives to help us draw closer to the image of Him. Him-prints -- may we leave them wherever we journey. They are written in the covenant He has given to us. 

Grab one and share it as you love someone today!
How We Love
Beth Nielsen Chapman

The YouTube offering of Beth's song is no longer available.
It was when this entry was first posted.
Plan B - lyrics are below this photo! 



Life has taught me this
Every day is new
And if anything is true
All that matters
When we're through
Is how we love

Faced with what we lack
Some things fall apart
But from the ashes new dreams start
All that matters to the heart
Is how we love

How we love
How we love
From the smallest act of kindness
In a word, a smile, a touch

In spite of our mistakes
Chances come again
If we lose or if we win
All that matter in the end
Is how we love

How we love
How we love
I will not forget your kindness
When I needed it so much

Sometimes we forget
Trying to be so strong
In this world of right and wrong
All that matters when we've gone

All that mattered all along
All we have that carries on
Is how we love

8 comments:

  1. I've loved reading your reflections and "seeing" more of your life story. You inspire, Lynn! Love you.

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  2. Thank you, Lisa - so grateful that I can share "more".
    It is so good to read your note and hear your heart!
    Love you, too.
    Lynn

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  3. You are such and inspiration to me, Lynn. I am so glad that Alpha Delta Kappa brought us together so many years ago and then again when you joined our chapter. I will look forward to seeing you in September.

    Love and hugs,
    Carole Leigh

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    1. Carole Leigh - I'd say we have had some years to garner mutual admiration for and inspiration from each other. I count you among my blessings!
      Yes - September!
      L.

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  4. It just goes to show, Lynn, if God calls us to do something, He can call us to do it from NO MATTER WHERE we are. You have become my mentor and my inspiration through your writing, and for that I thank you.

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    Replies
    1. Amen, Shelby - so true that when we are called and respond, His grace it there to follow the path of His appointing in whatever manner we can!

      I am elated to have you in my life. Thanks for your generous sharings here on my blog posts.
      Love,
      Lynn

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  5. Lynn, I have also enjoyed your writings very much! You share your heart and you are a great inspiration! God Bless as you continue to writing, I know I always look forward it :)

    Blessings,
    Margie Scott

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Margie.
      I am not sure what will be coming forth with my blog writing next. It is always a mystery until God inspires me with something I feel is important.

      I am ever grateful for your friendship and kind comments and am enjoying reading what you are sharing on your blog!
      Love,
      Lynn

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