Epiphanies Abound…

There are no accidents in a God-directed life.

All goes according to plan. 

The glory is His,

How sweet it is.

There is really no need for a middleman.  

 

All-In Or Nothing Beyond Retirement

 

CHAPTER 1

EPIPHANIES ABOUND …

The dictionary defines an “epiphany” as a sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something or an illuminating discovery, realization or disclosure (www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epiphany)

Many believe that epiphanies are a manifestation of the Divine, and that God sometimes answers our questions with epiphanies when we ask Him. 

I have been fortunate to have had a number of such revelations during my lifetime. All have been delivered at just the right time, so that they were understandable, relevant and significant to me. 

Here is just a small sample of what I mean: 

  1. As a boy, it dawned on me one day that:
    1.  I was a unique individual, distinct from my brothers and my mother and father. I was infused with energy and Life.
    2. God is real; choosing to live with Him and for Him became a major step toward fulfillment and happiness for me.
  2. As a young adult, I discovered that:
    1. My life was a result of the decisions I made; I dared not share or defer that responsibility to anyone else.
    2. Decisions had consequences, both good and bad. It was my responsibility to own them all and learn from them. 
    3. I could choose excellence in whatever task or situation I was faced with.
    4. There were no accidents in life; God had control of it all. 
  3. In my mid-life years, I learned about:
    1. Adding value wherever I was, especially in the lives of other people.
    2. Being a positive example to others.
  4. As I turned 50 years old, I found that:
    1. I was not bullet-proof as a person; natural law applied to me too. It was unwise to neglect my health, even on the altar of seemingly positive virtues, such as hard work and service to others. Bad choices lead to suboptimal results, which usually meant pain and suffering but most assuredly a waste of valuable resources. Great choices propelled me forward in the direction which I found desirable and meaningful. 
    2. It was important to find my passion in life in order to best fulfill God’s purpose for me.

Now I am in my 71st year on planet Earth. I have enjoyed my life immensely, and I wouldn’t trade the lessons I have learned for anything. The journey has been spectacular! I had many opportunities and many successes during my career as a military and civilian radiologist. In 2006, I “retired” from the United States Army after twenty-four years of Federal Service. Then in 2020, I retired again from medicine (Musculoskeletal Radiology/teleradiology) and launched into a career as a writer and teacher.

I am at least as busy now as I ever was during my “working years”, if not more so. I have realized that “retirement” should not be synonymous with slowing down or taking it easy. It is really only a transition from one role to another. Same person, same qualities; different role. And I am here to tell you that I am not done yet! In many ways I feel like I am just getting warmed up for the next chapter in my life.  Epiphanies continue to manifest themselves even now, thankfully.

So why am I writing this book? Well, despite my best laid plans, there was a fly in the veritable ointment. Things were going on with my body which I hadn’t recognized before and surely didn’t like. 

 

Maybe you will identify with some of the following: 

  1. My hair turned gray and my chest fell down to the level of my stomach.
  2. It became increasingly more difficult to get down onto the floor and especially get back up again.
  3. I was beginning to forget names and facts which would magically appear after a few minutes (“Google it” became a common refrain among myself and my wife).
  4. Sleeping was more interrupted and less restful.
  5. My five-hour bladder could barely make it two hours on road trips.
  6. Wrinkles abounded and hairs sprouted from the least likely of places.
  7. Liver spots appeared.
  8. Achiness in my hands increased as the smaller joints in my fingers became lumpier in configuration.
  9. Morning back pain became the rule rather than the exception.
  10. Loss of balance was a daily concern. 

You get the idea! 

I had hoped that my “Golden Years” would be filled with meaning encounters and accomplishments. I wanted to continue to help my kids and teach my grandkids about things I had learned to love. I wanted to bask in the light of a rewarding life with my beautiful wife for at least twenty-five or thirty more years beyond “retirement” from my job. I wanted to continue to strive and thrive by helping others. 

Instead, I realized that there was a piece or two missing from my life puzzle. I was obviously doing something or not doing something which was causing me to fall short of my own expectations physically and mentally. Friends told me that I was just getting older. They tried to convince me that it was “normal” to slow down, and that it was unrealistic to believe that I could think and do as I had at a much younger age. Even my own medical colleagues wrote off my symptoms as “age-related”.

With so many older Americans acting as I was (in decline), I began to wonder if what was happening to me was normal. I was resisting that thought; I was not content to accept the norm. I had to find the answer for myself.

I was not content to accept the norm.
I had to find the answer for myself.

What if I was right, and it was not normal for older people to get weaker and sleep less well? What if our joints were constructed to function well for 120 years or more? What if my mind was supposed to be sharp and quick for decades beyond my retirement from the job? What if we were designed to live for 120 years on average, not just the 80+ years predicted in the insurance actuarial tables? 

If it was normal to blitz through all of life at 110%, with limitless energy and boundless enthusiasm, why wasn’t I living that way? I’ve seen too many chronologically older folks placed into extended care facilities and nursing homes (against their will) because they were no longer able to meet minimum standards of care for themselves. People are most comfortable in their own homes; why shouldn’t they be able to live and work and play where they are most happy, especially in their advancing years? 

The real questions for me were these: 

  1. What was causing me to function at less than my best? 
  2. What was I doing which was robbing me of my vitality prematurely? 
  3. Why was I deteriorating more quickly than I wanted to or should have to?
  4. Were there things I could do to slow or even reverse these changes?

  The new symptoms I was experiencing carried a message. Was I wise enough to heed its warning? Having symptoms meant I was not doing something right. It was time for analysis and change if necessary. 

Having symptoms meant I was not doing something right.
It was time for analysis and change, if necessary.

After months of prayer, thought and research, I can confirm to you that there are things that we can do to prolong life and make living more enjoyable. We can maintain our functionality much longer than we ever thought possible. We have realistic and doable options available to us. 

The objective of this book is to define those options for us, explain why they may work, and encourage you on your road back to “life in the enjoyable and fruitful lane.” There will be no mandates that you must follow. Whether you choose to try any of these ideas is purely up to you. A few of the options will cost extra money; some will require only that funds be reprioritized, but most of the ideas are free, except for the determination and the persistence to carry them out.

… most of the ideas are free, expect for the
determination and the persistence to carry them out.

By the way, my latest epiphany dealt with this very issue. All of life can be lived energetically and enthusiastically, at full tilt, right up until the day the Lord calls us home and we hear, “well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23 NIV) . The idea is to finish strong. That is great encouragement to me, and for you also, I hope. 

Finish strong!

So here we go …

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