It is an act of finality; a sense of resignation pervades when a book which one treasured is placed on a shelf. One may deceive oneself that it can always be retrieved at some future, unknown and unspecified date, but in a world where the bombardment of newness and the constancy of moving on to the “next” thing dominates, the chances are that the act of shelving will constitute the gathering of dust in corners where forgotten memories will atrophy with cobwebs of deliberative disregard.
The alternative is to keep a stack of books and allow the unsteady tower of irregular and awkward dimensions teeter on the brink of collapse; but even there, as others pile onto the freshness of that distant reading, crushing out the life of passages memorized in moments of distracted concentration, it is the act of shelving which marks a critical juncture of terminal finality. As with things in the mind, so in the physical world, we must force ourselves to take that step, despite the knowing frailty of life in compartmentalized forms.
Filing for Federal & Postal Disability Retirement benefits has that similitude of sense to it; to initiate the process is to acknowledge the necessity of leaving behind an image, a career, a routine, a life that once was, is forever changing, and ever losing its comfort of static monotony. For Federal employees who must file for Federal & Postal Medical Retirement benefits, whether the Federal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the act itself of initiating the administrative process is to shelve a meaningful career full of accomplishments, accolades and activities of astronomical admiration; but there comes a moment when time, space and necessity coalesce to compel, and medical conditions tend to do that.
And like the book which is shelved upon reaching the last chapter of resonance, the feeling of a whispering breeze blowing lazily across the meadows of a past life reverberate, as the quiet sound of an exiting murmur echoes in the hollows of necessity; yes, life requires the shelving of books and other things, as does life itself.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire