Never a dull moment with faith

Published 8:06 pm Friday, August 6, 2021

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By Chris Quilpa

No schedule to stick to. No daily routine to follow. No boss to report to. Just merely trying to enjoy each day that comes and goes, with faith in God.

Retirement is something that everyone who has worked for decades looks forward to. Believe me when I say there are those millennials who aspire to retire early so they can enjoy the rest of their life, like our baby boomers or seniors, like me.

Is there life out there after employment for so long? Of course there is! It depends on what you’re going to do next and where and how you live your golden years.

To those who were looking forward to retirement, they have already thought or planned what they intend to do and where to retire. But to those who never expected to retire early from work, like me, they were caught unprepared. Their plans messed up and they had to overhaul their life and try to accept their fate. That’s what happened to me.

I never thought about retiring early. But unexpected circumstances beyond my control forced me to do it. At first, I could not accept the fact that I have a disability that has prevented me from continuing my service in the military.

The last three years of my 20 years of U.S. Navy service was tough for me. Once you have had seven consecutive months of invasive back procedures you will never be the same again, performance-wise. There are physical activities you have difficulty doing or are unable to perform.

I persevered and prayed a lot that my physical disability (chronic lower back pain with degenerative disk/joint disease, sciatica, fibromyalgia, and then glaucoma) would not affect my sanity and sensibility, and the quality of my life. I couldn’t help but to feel self-pity, at times. I felt devastated. I was going nuts. I became temperamental, at times, aloft and wanted to be left alone.

But my faith in God, through Jesus Christ, played a role in my final acceptance of my fate. I felt calmness and a sense of peace. Years later, I have come to accept the reality that I have to live in/with pain the rest of my life.

What’s my life now? I can say I am doing OK, though my health is not as excellent as before. I know, pain is a part of life. And you and I have to deal with it in various ways.

Though old age is inevitable, it doesn’t bother me. I try to live in the moment well, doing what I can, enjoying what I like to do — watching a variety of videos on YouTube, reading, listening to music, writing (when in the mood), watching news and movies sometimes, and attending Mass online via YouTube (on weekdays). Lately, I’ve been going to church personally with my wife, trying to get reconnected with our faith community. But, of course, I make sure to observe CDC’s protocols.

Fully vaccinated, since May, and observing health and safety protocols, like wearing masks, washing hands regularly with soap and water, and social distancing, I feel fine and grateful to be alive. Despite having the pandemic and other crises around the world, I firmly believe, there will be normalcy to our life.

With faith, life, for me, is never a dull moment now, even when summer’s over and my wife goes back to school to teach. Having my dog Simba with me, at home, makes a difference. Simba is such a good company. He and I go out walking around the neighborhood every morning, except on rainy days.

With faith, hope and optimism, I have much more to learn, from watching interesting videos on YouTube. I’m grateful for YouTube and the vloggers. There are a lot of interesting videos that somehow impact  our quality of life. There’s always something to learn and to share. Thank God, I can’t ask for anything more.

Enjoy summer while it’s still around, folks. But, bear in mind, we still have the COVID-19 pandemic. Get vaccinated if you haven’t done so yet.

Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk and Portsmouth. He can be reached at