“the best is the enemy of the good”

as time goes on, more and more of my long time friends are retiring. those who are not retired are looking forward to it soon. after decades of hard work, it is understandable to want a new chapter of life where answering to a boss is a thing of the past. work stress would cease.

security, leisure and comfort are aspects of the retirement stage of life. so it follows that conversations with my childhood friends can revolve around vacation trips that they took or remodeling home projects that are needed.

for me, it is different.

i am not sure how i feel about being comfortable. in many ways, i am comfortable now. good food, good bed, plenty of time to read or watch tv. but in many ways i am far from comfortable. almost all my stress comes from watching my mother. all my stress is related to her comfort or lack thereof. my own personal deficiencies are more readily seen. although what i am doing is good, i am certainly not naturally wired to be a caregiver.

my call as a claretian missionary has had me looking forward toward community service. it has me , not staying home, but looking beyond where i live to the needs of others. i recently had been invited to help with the local youth detention facility. just the thought of helping in a jail or prison gets my ministerial mind and heart excited!

also, in a recent claretian zoom meeting, we were brainstorming some creative spanish speaking ministries in the future that related to our missionary spirit. there is also some discussion of how we claretians can participate in drilling wells for water in a needed area in malawi. at present, i am helping with the needed information to see if this collaboration can really be possible for us. these are other instances of ministerial excitement for me. in many ways, these are embers that are keeping the fire going while i am doing what i need to do in seattle right now.

in essence, i am called to be “uncomfortable.” i believe that the main question is “Lord, what do you want me to do; what is your will? through the years, i have learned that the responses have been forward looking and activities that i would not have considered for myself. this dynamic relates to the vow of obedience that i promised as a claretian. seek the will of the Father; not primarily my own.

the Holy Spirit surprises us with graces that move us beyond the comforts that this world says are good. the old addage holds true: “the best is the enemy of the good.” in service and ministry, i always want to be open to giving up what is considered good for something that the Spirit sees as even better.

how do we discern that? lead and guide me Holy Spirit!


  1. CHER says:

    Most awesome thoughts. Being newly retired myself, it most definitely is a different feeling, however, now more comfortable in my new routines. I remember my mom asking me the same day of retirement (!!) “Well, what are you going to do now?” I came up with the following reply; “I’m going to do what I want to and try to enjoy my life without expectations or pressures” (two things that are most definitely in most working folks lives). Now that doesn’t mean I won’t have zero stress or pressure , however they will be quite different and I will have time to process them better without expectations of keeping “it together” while working!!!! A huge difference in my opinion!! And, to me, the heart of that mantra is that I am open to whatever comes my way. I don’t know what God has planned for me – but am very willing to listen to what He puts in front of me and follow suit and that is a most wonderful feeling. It’s great to question the future knowing most times, the changes involved are not as scary as one imagines them to be!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. frarthurcmf says:

      you are finding your place in your retirement chapter of life. being open to whatever comes your way is a wonderful way to approach the gift of life!


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