It can only be in metaphorical terms by which we express such sentiments; and some recent essays have contended that true comprehension within the context of any language game requires, by necessity and tautological argument, metaphors.
The concept of one’s “soul” itself may be entirely metaphorical — or a simile of sorts — and placed within the context of the physical terrain of a balcony, the combination of the immaterial with the material presents an image beyond mere fanciful flights of the imagination, but taxes the capacity of the human intellect to corners of comprehension stretched to its outer limits. For, the balcony is that arena of observatory quietude from which the vantage point of reflection occurs; and the soul represents the essence of a person’s being. Thus, for the soul (the core of one’s humanity) to view the objective world from a balcony (the vantage point of reflective quietude), is to present a moment of profound insight. It is, indeed, for those rare moments which make life worthwhile.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties within the Federal government or the U.S. Postal Service, it is this loss of “balcony-perspective” which often compels one to act. Or, conversely, there is sometimes a moment of such vantage-point realization, seen through the onerous veil of pain, stress, cognitive cloudiness or downtrodden days of breakdowns and distress depleted through progressive deterioration of mind, body, emotion and flat effect; in a moment of cohesive clarity, one can come to the recognition that life cannot be defined by work, and the worth of one’s humanity should not be determined by how much one can withstand the humiliation incurred by supervisors, managers, coworkers and hostile environments which refuse to let up or cease in their incessant poundings.
Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often only the first step towards recovery from a process which began years ago. Some time ago — and time becomes a maze of forgotten refrains when one must contend on a daily basis with a medical condition which impacts one’s capacity to engage in gainful employment — there were moments when the view from one’s balcony provided that momentary quietude of reflection; and then the erasures of life began to rub away the humanity of one’s essence, to a point where one’s soul began to hurt, to suffer, and to sob in silent shudders of dry heaving for that loss of self.
Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management may not be the ultimate solution for every Federal and Postal employee, but it is often a start. That start will, at a minimum, allow one to again view the world around us from the balcony of one’s soul, which is the true vantage point for all of us who still retain a semblance of humanity.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire