July 19, 2017: Facing the Past

~by Louis Templeman


I recall the ideals of my younger days. They filled me with such energy and excitement for the future. The prophet Joel once wrote, “The young will have visions.” I certainly had them.

In the slow mosey of time I found life filled with detours, road blocks, re-directs and unforeseen complications as well as obligations calling for significant portions of my time and imagination. I had to squeeze in my dreams.

I yearned to be a teacher in religious studies and hoped to occupy myself with writing. I took many correspondence courses and put in thousands of hours of buttock-numbing study and one glorious year as a full-time student. Seminary allowed me to realize this was no feeble wish. I could get it done. I could put in the hours. I could make the grades. I also began to write during this time. I placed many articles in a variety of magazines of all kinds – secular, minister’s journals, Catholic, Pentecostal, and Baptist magazines. I cannot say I was paid well but I can say I was published. In that line of work publish is a very important word.

Unfortunately, tragedies, financial trouble, broken promises, and disappointment fell on me and my dreams, kind of like a tornado in a mobile home park. I tried hard to persevere, but it felt like every road went uphill.

And now, retired and dealing with Parkinson’s Disease, I find myself tempted to entertain regrets. I have discovered such thoughts as, “If only I would have …,” or “Why did she …,” or “Lord I wish that loan way back when would have come through …,” are self-defeating and deflating and unprofitable. I can let them take the wind out of my sails or I can re-frame them; re-work them, re-word them or ignore them.

I am happy to say there is, indeed, a wind, I have a boat with sails. It is not the one I dreamed of or planned, but it is the one I have. And, it floats and its sails catch the wind and moves in challenging breezes here in the second half of my life. And, in this moment I have goals, desires, and pleasures to enjoy. I am not relishing in the pleasures and triumphs and recognition I longed for but I am an older grey headed man who has learned to live with reasonable expectations. My goals may look more like chores to some people but I love mowing my lawn and tending to my flowers, feeding the birds, and seeing to it my female cat, named Felix, stays fat. Instead of re-watching an old video of me performing some feat, getting glory, or trudging through some expensive adventure in my past, I am glad and happy to enjoy binging on episodes of Grey’s Anatomy with my wife Joy.

Because of my many difficulties I am unable to re-live or bore others with my past glory-days. However, I am lucky. I have learned to enjoy the moment. I have troubles enough to challenge, chores enough to keep me feeling engaged and significant. And, I am simple enough to see and appreciate God’s creation in the delicate and beautiful complexity in the bloom of a simple hydrangea.

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Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D. Louis has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is fighting the good fight. Much of what he writes these days he is sharing his journey with us. Please keep Louis and his wife Joy in your prayers.

CLICK HERE to visit Louis’ Catholic Journeyman Archive

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