As the calendar page turned from 2020 to 2021, I was not in the best frame of mind. There were four long-standing issues or concerns that I brought into the new year and none of them seemed to be on any path to resolution. So, I made a list of these issues along with my perspective on each. As time has evolved, I can almost see God in Heaven looking down at me and saying to St. Peter “Watch this!”
The first issue was my health. I was recovering from serious eye surgery as well as having another issue with skin cancer on my scalp. I had had a series of other health issues over the past three years and I was tired of it.
Second, I was contemplating a move to Georgia to be nearer my daughter in the event of failing health and my being unable to care for myself. This was not a move of desire but perceived necessity, as I love living in Lakeland. However, it was a frustrating search as I was simply not finding anything in Georgia that filled the bill.
The third issue was my social life or lack of it. Take my introversion, add spending several years of hermit-like behavior as I cared for Gloria, and then top it off with the COVID19 crisis and I felt isolated.
Finally, I was trying to resolve what to do about my part-time tax business. As taxes have gotten more complex the tax season has morphed into a year-long occupation and I didn’t want to work all year long. On the other hand, tax preparation has always been enjoyable for me as I enjoyed solving difficult tax problems and helping people in distress over their tax situation.
As I prayed, I sensed movement among these issues. I quickly learned that they really weren’t four stand-alone concerns, but interrelated and interlocked parts of my life. As clarity came to one issue, there was an effect on the others.
Probably the first to fall was my concern about the tax business. I received an opportunity to write blogs about church and clergy tax issues which is a tax niche that I like more than the others. This would keep me attached to tax issues but allow me to write, which is something I enjoy. As time moved on I made the decision to close the tax business. Rather than feeling the expected regret and withdrawal from this decision, I felt at peace. I know this was the right decision. I was free to pursue other interests.
In regard to my health, I am recovering well from the eye and cancer surgery. I did some reading and discovered that many of my issues are stress-related from losing Gloria. So hopefully that’s on the upswing since I am learning how to deal with it. But with health you never know, so I continue to pray for good health.
The third issue is my social life. I was on a dating site and my subscription was about to expire. I was giving up if nothing happened. A week before the subscription expired, I got a reply from a message I had sent to someone local. We met, and found we enjoyed each other’s company. At this point neither of us knows where this relationship is going, but we have had several dates and are enjoying our times together.
Assuming this relationship continues to grow, there is no longer the pressing need to move to Georgia, so that issue seems to be solved. So I am blessed to be able to remain in Lakeland, a place I love.
In looking back over the last three months, it dawned on me that these were more than answers to prayer. They are blessings. Where I was dissatisfied with my life in many respects God showed me how blessed I am. I am 74 years old and people tell me I don’t look or act that old. And I don’t feel that old. I am blessed with good health, despite bumps in the road.
I have had a fulfilling career. My main career of college professor allowed me to help shape the minds of future accountants and tax preparers. When I look around I see large numbers of successful accountants and business persons whose life I have positively influenced. My second career of tax preparation has allowed me to help people who are distressed by their tax situation. Not much is more fearful than an encounter with the IRS. I feel privileged to be able to help them and to reduce their stress levels. I’ve been blessed with two careers that I love passionately.
In looking at my social life, instead of focusing on what I don’t have, God showed me that I should focus on what I have been given. For nearly 50 years I was married to a wonderful woman who loved me unconditionally. Hopefully I will be able to say the same about my current relationship (probably not 50 years, though). I have been abundantly blessed to be so loved.
As I was thinking about this topic of blessings and perspective, I was reminded that blessings are not given to me alone. When God blesses me, my responsibility is to turn that into a blessing for someone else. I would compare blessings to the Dead Sea in the Holy Land. This sea has no outlet. The water simply evaporates, leaving a high salt content. As such, animal and plant life cannot flourish in the Dead Sea. If we don’t turn our blessings into blessings for others, we become like the dead sea. And that is why we receive God’s blessings. So we can be a blessing to others.