One said, “Your wife Sarah shall have a son.”
         Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old,
         and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?”
         The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh?”
         But Sarah denied, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid.
         He said, “Oh yes, you did laugh.”
 —from Genesis 18.10-15

As I approach my retirement on Sunday I am laughing—
laughter not of derision but of release,
laughter at the joke that at what seems an end
some things are just beginning,
laughter at the irony of my self-importance overshadowed
by what is given to me,
laughter at the mystery that as I grow old
I’m now ripe to produce what I haven’t before:
now it is time to pluck me from the tree
and let me offer my sweet fruit.

And there is a part of me, so wise and earnest and mature,
that denies I am laughing, denies I am puzzled or surprised,
pretends I have this figured out.
The angels calmly call my bluff,
my assurance I know the future, know what’s possible.
The joke’s on me.

When you get old,
laugh at it.
It helps you ripen.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

June 11, 2020

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