Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Masking of Fate

It is still perhaps appropriate at the time of this writing, to consider masks and costumes, as Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve lingers is just over.  It is a celebratory time; and whether of religious significance or origins discovered in the medieval Gaelic folklore long lost but in remaining songs and ballads sung sweetly without instrumentality or electronic mixing, the tradition of putting on a disguise, concealing one’s face with a mask of another’s soul continues.

It is doubtful that the meaning behind such traditions are ever discussed or believed in; we live in a time when the pinnacle of belief is comprised of nihilism and disbelief; and so the request for alms or a few pieces of candy “on behalf of” a soul departed, is not the foundation as to why a disguise is embraced.  It is, instead, to “have fun” – which is a valid enough reason and rationale in and of itself, though such a goal is not exclusive to also engaging in the activity with a knowledge of why, where we came from, or what we are living for.

The medieval practice of mumming or souling have clearly lost their roots of meaningful efficacy; and with virtual reality overtaking the imagination of modern childhood, there is little room left for the spirit-world of other dimensions, even if we could bring ourselves to believe in them.  Materialism has deadened the parallel universes of fantasy and imagination; the moon smiling can be explained by craters and ridgelines of impervious rocks.  Costumes and masks merely reflect a world already dead; they are not put on for disguise on behalf of souls departed, but merely a put-on to justify laughter, lost innocence and untoward sadness.

Perhaps, by keeping a tradition alive, there will be the possibility of hope, that the meaningfulness of that which is preserved will have a flickering light of potentiality.  But, then, that would mean that elves, gnomes and goblins may still lurk behind hidden corridors of timeless imaginations.

Fate masked is to conceal nothing; it is only when there is a face behind the mask that the mask has any real value; but if the face concealed no longer possesses value, what is the worth of the mask itself?  It merely echoes the truth of Lear’s admonition to Cordelia that, “Nothing will come of nothing.”  There have always been masks to conceal, but worn on occasions recognized for specified events, where all can engage in the fun of hidden meanings; it is the mask of daily veil, however, that should instill terror in the hearts and souls of the living.  For, it is that smile dispossessed; the disarming wink; the open expression of camaraderie; yet, once the back is turned, the sharpened knives are unsheathed for selective display of unstated purposes.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question often posed is:  When should I?  The missing addendum to such a general question is multiple:  When should I file (as soon as possible, as the process to obtain a Federal Disability Retirement benefit is long and arduous); When should I inform my agency or the U.S. Postal Service (not until the time of filing, unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise); When should I take off this masking of fate?

As to this last question – well, perhaps when the Federal Disability Retirement application is finally prepared and ready for filing; for, that is the time when the point of pain, anguish and the hollow eyes impounded by a medical condition may begin to repair themselves for the trading dawn away from the daily drudgery of the mask that conceals.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirements: The verse of 1-liners

Can a verse stand alone, isolated in its metrical composition, without preceding or succeeding contextual delineations?  Of what value can the singular have, without the surrounding aggregation of the whole?  Like a scrap or fragment of a larger narrative revelation, of archaeologists and anthropologists working with but a piece of the greater story, the verse of 1-liners forever echoes for a harkening of others to join.

John Donne poetically captured the sense of that isolation, and Thomas Merton wrote a reflective narrative upon that very theme; but there we are, still left with the hollowness of an island’s separation, revealed by a lack, concealed by non-existence. We can, of course, always pretend that nothing came before, and there is no need for the after; but, somehow, such a vacuum of emptiness left alone in the quietude of a vast sea floating amidst the morass of a lonely singularity, doesn’t quite fit the narrative we all seek.

And it is not merely the personhood; it can be in the context of one’s past, where the currency of experiential encounters would lack meaning without an untold yearning for the future, and nothing to rely upon of what we recognize as the prefatory period of living.  Perhaps that is why people seek to unseal adoption records and search for the origins of genetic lineage; of why hope for a more promising tomorrow is necessary for the healthy preservation of every human being; it is because, without a connection to the past, nor a window of hopeful vision for the future, human beings are left with being a mere verse of a 1-liner.

There are monks and hermits in lonely pockets of isolated caverns, where meditation upon the consciousness of self or the wider phenomena of collective discoveries is attained by deliberate seeking of a singularity for solitude’s sake, in hermitages jutting out from cliffs afar; but that is rare, much like the monophonic sacredness of the Gregorian chant, reverberating across the valleys of our own sense of isolation and despair.

Or, perhaps that verse of a 1-liner (note the singular grammatical ascription, now, as opposed to the plural as reflected in the title of this narrative) can possess a gemstone of wisdom, and in that event, it can stand alone in the strength of its own lack of plurality. But for the rest of us, we recognize that it is the support of the greater whole that gives meaning, purpose and relevance to the lives we mold and hope to embrace.

That is why, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who come to a point of realization and recognition that the medical condition which developed, and which has come to a crossroads where the medical condition prevents the Federal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, and therefore will cut short the career of one’s choice, the option to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a final admission that one will no longer remain as part of a greater stanza, but become separated as a verse of a 1-liner.

Isolation and separation are concepts alien to a social animal; and for the Federal or Postal employee who must file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM, that concession that the verse of 1-liners has arrived, is indeed a difficult line to accept, but nonetheless a necessary one.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement under FERS or CSRS: The carefully crafted life

But that we could just write the narrative of our life, reflecting briefly upon our past, describing the present condition of being, but most importantly, to carefully craft the anticipated future of our lives in process.  What is revealed from one’s past is telling of a person’s character; of the present, a manifestation of the compass of one’s heart; and to the narrative of one’s future?  If the cultivation of one’s soul is the essence of the teleological process of life, the content of what we insert into the delineated poetry of future actions will uncover the truth in being of our damaged and tortured souls.

Would the script include fame and fortune?  Encounters with the common and ordinary, or of the arrogant dismissal of all but the beautiful and fortunate?  Would money always be written into the narrative of a future life, or ignored and instead replaced by peculiarities of fantasies, such as time travel, the ability to fly, or defiance of mortality and vanquishing of fear?

What one wishes for, like the genie who grants the dreams of youth, casts aside the veil we walk about with, and reveals all.  But the operative concept often overlooked is not about a crafted life; rather, that “extra” descriptive adverb which denotes painstaking caution and conscientious execution:  How does one “carefully” craft a life?  For, when wishes are offered and granted without constraint, the crafting itself becomes cast away as a mere byproduct and of irrelevant concern, like the human detritus flung out from a window of a speeding car down the highway of reckless disregard.

The care that one takes in crafting a life — now, that is an undertaking few of us attend to, despite every opportunity at every turn in the linear sequence of even the ordinary life of an individual.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, of course, who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, that opportunity is offered in a limited and defined manner — in the form of 2 pathways.

First, by being required to write one’s narrative on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability (where the Federal or Postal employee must describe, delineate and prove a sliced portion of one’s life concerning the medical condition and its impact upon one’s capacity and ability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job); and Second, by preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application and submitting it through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset — thereby formulating the narrative which will determine the future course of one’s life and livelihood.

No, in either case, the Federal or Postal employee will not be able to receive a genie’s grant of unfettered wishes and requests; but that was always the thoughtless residue of a childhood fantasy, anyway.

For, in the end, the carefully crafted life is not one which has any room for the misspent daydreams of a forlorn childhood; rather, the truly substantive content of a carefully crafted life necessarily involves the Triumvirate of the T:  Trials, Triumphs, and some sprinkling of Tragedies; just refer back to Shakespeare, or of Milton and Melville; anything else was merely the storybook fairytales of a bygone memory left behind in the dustbin of a forgotten era.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire