Each of us face them. Days begin and then they end. Weeks start and finish. Months. Years.
I have nine days until I retire. When I began teaching and coaching in Wyoming back in 1976, I had no thought of when it would end. It never crossed my mind. Even when I briefly left teaching at the high school level for two years to coach college basketball and earn a master’s in counseling, I always knew I’d go back to teaching and coaching.
Back in the 1985 – 1986 season, I knew I had a great senior class, a great team. It wasn’t the most talented team I had coached. I won a state championship with one team and played for a state championship with another team back in Wyoming. Yet, Mike and Mike, Steve, Dave, Greg and Tom, and the others on that team were some of the best kids I ever got to hang out with. So, I resigned from basketball at the beginning of the season effective at the end of the season. It was time. I knew it. I felt it. And besides, I wanted to leave with my seniors, even though I had a great group coming up behind them.
I began counseling in the fall of 1986. Of all the “jobs” I’ve had, I honestly enjoyed counseling the most. I got to work directly with kids and their parents. Loved it. I said “jobs” because for those of us who love what we do, it isn’t really a “job.” It is a passion. It is fulfillment.
In 1987, I moved to California and became a counselor out there. Loved the sun and the warm weather. Loved what I did. I met my wife at one school and we started a family. Now, my kids are venturing on their own paths, their own lives. Proud of them.
One day, Ed decided he was going to retire. He had been a teacher, but mostly a counselor for over thirty years. I remember telling him that I never thought I would last that long. I mean, thirty years in any profession, in any passion, is a long, long time. I didn’t want him to retire. I wanted to work alongside of him longer. He was my friend and mentor. I mentioned this to him. He smiled – he had the best smile – and his eyes disappeared as they always did when he smiled and he said, “It’s time.”
As a kid once upon a time, I had heard of a pope who, on his deathbed, allegedly said, “I am ready. My bags are packed.”
Wow! I don’t know about you, but I intend to go fighting, screaming and kicking the entire way out. Not that I’m anywhere near my death, at least as far as I can tell.
But we all face an ending. For some, way too soon. My son, Wil, fell into that category. My mom, on the other hand, lived until she was 99. We never know.
So . . .
As I sit here and write this, I have nine days until I turn in my badge and my keys and walk away from my passion that I have been working and living at for 44 years. Nine days.
How am I going to go? Screaming? Kicking? Fighting? Hell, no. Way, way too tired for that. Will I . . . do I . . . have regrets? Absolutely. I think we all play the “wish I could have; I think I should have” game from time to time. But all in all, I am happy with what I have done. I’d like to think I had more successes than failures. I do believe that.
You see, I believe there is no such thing as a failure. I believe a failure is only a success waiting to happen if you learn from the failures you’ve made. That’s the key, isn’t it? To learn from each failure and turn it into a success.
All too often, folks seem to stop at the failure. They see that as “the end.” We cannot, must not stop there. We stop and consider, we think it through, and we learn. We turn the failure into a success.
Yet, each of us, in our own way and in our own time, will come to an end. A job. A passion (and I hope for you reading this, it truly is a passion). A life. It doesn’t pay to fret or worry. It doesn’t pay to dwell on the ending. I think the meaning and value in any life, in any passion, is to live the life you have fully and completely. Live it. Embrace it. Smile and laugh your way through it. It’s the only satisfying and meaningful way to arrive at an ending. Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make a Difference!
To My Readers:
My new book, Betrayed, will debut Nov. 12, 2020! It is a contemporary psychological thriller using some of the same characters from my previous work. It takes place on the Navajo Nation Reservation in northeast Arizona.
Below is the book blurb. Pretty excited about it.
Integrity is protecting someone who betrayed you. Courage is keeping a promise even though it might mean death.
A late-night phone call turns what was to be a fun hunting trip into a deadly showdown. Fifteen-year-old brothers George Tokay, Brian Evans and Brett McGovern face death on top of a mesa on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona. They have no idea why men are intent on killing them.
Betrayed is a contemporary psychological thriller and an exploration of the heart and of a blended family of adopted kids, their relationships to each other and their parents woven into a tight thriller/mystery.
“Once again, author Joseph Lewis has written a fast-paced psychological thriller mystery that immerses readers into a dark world few encounter.”
— Joan Livingston, author of the Isabel Long Mystery Series
“Betrayed is at once an emotional chapter in author Joseph Lewis’ continuing coming-of-age story and an intriguing thriller. Following both law enforcement and a group of teens searching for a missing boy on Native American land, Lewis’ latest also provides a unique view into Navajo culture. A layered story that explodes into a bullet-riddled climax.”
— Rick Treon, award-winning author of Deep Background and Let the Guilty Pay
Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author
Spiral Into Darkness:
Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm
Caught in a Web:
A PenCraft Literary Award Winner!
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.
Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696
Caught in a Web is now available in Audio format. You can find it at https://www.beaconaudiobooks.com/audiobookreleases/high-school-drug-rings-gangs-and-revenge-are-all-encompassing-in-caught-in-a-web-by-joseph-lewis
Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://tinyurl.com/Stolen-Lives-J-Lewis
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where or by whom. Without that knowledge, neither he nor the FBI can protect him or his family. http://tinyurl.com/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis