Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Extension Free!

We left for the Brisbane airport at 9:30 a.m., Monday, Oct. 20 with a stopover in Sydney and then on to Hawaii. 10 coffees, 5 meals, 3 movies, 2 shuttles, 22 hrs, 10 minutes later, we arrived Honolulu at 7:40 a.m., Oct. 20, 1 hr, 50 minutes before we departed. Go figure! At my age, I wish these kinds of time calculations occurred every day. Gaining approximately 2 hours every day, next year this time I would be 30 days younger. Now that’s my definition of “extending.”

After breakfast (I was asleep on the plane when breakfast was served) and a sugar-free, vanilla latte, it was off to Kuhio Beach for that rejuvenating swim under the swaying coconut palms—a taste of heaven-on-earth. Think about it: A place of “healing waters,” thirst-quenching rivers” and “life-giving trees” where “time will be no more” (Revelation 22). Those of you still trying to untangle from the Hairball, see what you have to look forward to? We, the retired sanctified, are just a wee bit closer.

I barely missed the cut and was able to retire at age 65 (extensions began immediately thereafter), followed now by almost 7 years of “heaven-on-earth” bliss. During those 65 years I spent most of my time, as MacKenzie says in Orbiting, “daubing more or less inside the lines.” For the first time, during these 7 years, I have felt entirely free to paint my masterpiece unencumbered by the Hairball.

He goes on to write, “The stifled strokes of paint had nothing to do with me. They did not illustrate who I am or speak of whom I could become. I felt duped, cheated, ashamed—anguished that I had wasted so much canvas, so much paint. I was angry that I had been conned into doing so.”

“But that is the past. Passed.”

“Today I wield a wider brush—pure ox-bristle. And I’m swooping it through the sensuous goo of Cadmium Yellow, Alizarin Crimson or Ultramarine Blue (not 4, 13 or 8) to create the biggest, brightest, funniest, fiercest damn dragon that I can. Because that has more to do with what’s inside of me than some prescribed plagiarism of somebody else’s tour de force.”

I can echo a loud “Amen!” to that.

He goes on to write, “You have a masterpiece inside you, too, you know. One unlike any that has ever been created, or ever will be. And remember:”

“If you go to your grave
without painting
your masterpiece
it will not
get painted.
No one else
can paint it.
Only you.”

So it’s back to the heavenly drawing board for me, free from the threat of those Hairball limiting “extensions.” I’m actually painting “The River of Life” right now. Mine is filled with sugar-free, non-fat vanilla lattes! And without the hassle of a Hairball controlled petty cash reimbursement, mind you. I wonder what yours might look like?