In the calm of morning darkness, when the stillness of winter whispers a hushed tone of quietude just before the first break of dawn, one’s perspective falls askew amidst the shadows and desolation of winter. Is that a rock or a dead bird, frozen in the stillness of winter’s despair? Was the movement behind the trees a reflection, or just the first faintness of dawn’s exposure? Perspectives are funny glazes; a once familiar landscape can be frighteningly unfamiliar within the dark chasms of one’s own mind.
Then, almost imperceptibly, the light of dawn begins to pervade, and that which once appeared strange and foreboding, takes on the familiarity of known objects, recognizable forms, and identifiable shapes. We live by light, and light is the friend of our fanciful imaginations gone awry by fear and loathing.
Medical conditions have a similar subtlety, much like the light of dawn: they slowly creep upon one, until the debilitating impact is revealed when just a moment before, the fear of darkness was overwhelming. But just as the morning glow of the rising sun will bring warmth and a promise of openness, so the hope underlying any conflict in life must be placed within a context of future castings. Hope is for the future, as light is a diminishment of a present or past darkness.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, present circumstances are often like the overwhelming and foreboding sense of morning darkness before the dawn of the rising sun; it portends yet of a future unknown, and a fate yet to be decided. That is why it is important to “let go” of those things of which one has no control, and concurrently, to affirmatively take steps towards the familiarity of that which is known.
Federal Disability Retirement benefits, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a “known” quantity. Yes, it is a difficult administrative process and procedure to engage; yes, it is a bureaucratic morass of unquantifiable proportions; but it is a necessary step for those Federal or Postal employees who find themselves with a medical condition which begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from continuing in the positional slot of one’s Federal or Postal job.
As the allegory in Plato’s Republic tells the story of the enslaved shadows struggling in the darkness of the Cave, so the Federal or Postal employee who looks up at the opening beyond, to the light of dawn, must surely recognize that the fear and loathing felt in the shadows wavering in that moment before dawn’s glory, is but a temporary point in fate’s cradle, just before the brightness of one’s future is revealed in a time and place yet to be destined for the glory of summer.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire