Have you ever seen a flower arrangement that weaves together deadwood with bright and colorful summer explosions? They tell us of that which reflects modernity: The dead are forgotten in the background; the sick and dying are mere echoes fading quickly into a distant past; and it is only the vigorous who dominate and forcefully remain in the forefront.
How a society coordinates the interaction between the triad of life’s complex ingredients reveals the extent of its inner soul and character. For, how many of us truly want to live in a pure State of Nature, where only the brute strength of predatory behavior would rule? How many of us would survive in such a dystopian world, and for how long?
How we treat the remains, vestiges and memories of those gone; what we do with the ones still alive but deteriorating, suffering and lonely in their abandoned abodes; and whatever is left for the youth, what value of transference is imparted from the traditions longstanding, the obligations imparted, and the core values embraced – these determine the viability of a society in turmoil.
For, the dead reveal in constancy as to who we are by giving us a past; the dying, what we are made of by the example of how we treat the least of our community; and the value of youth is inherent in the lineage existent for the future continuation of a viable and vibrant tradition; and it is always the interrelationships between the tripartite worlds that determine whether and how.
We tend to want to compartmentalize, then to isolate each into their individual components such that one never interrelates with another. But reality often will force a society to reflect upon such an artificial manner of conceptual isolationism, and sometimes it is by mere change of perspective that can lead to a paradigm shift of sorts.
Thus does this happen when we see a flower arrangement that artfully weaves the deadwood of winter with the vibrant colors of spring, and allow for even the panorama of fall leaves to still reveal beauty and breathtaking insights, and allow for the youth of summer blossoms to radiate, while at the same time giving deference to the others in the haiku of life. It is often through a metaphor like this on a macro-scale that we can then glean a reflective outlook upon the microcosm of our own lives.
For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who sees him or herself as “less than worthy” – somewhat like the dying twigs in a flower arrangement otherwise filled with vibrancy and youth – all because a medical condition is becoming chronic and debilitating, one needs only look upon a flower arrangement that encompasses the triad of life’s natural flow.
Perhaps the agency is like those exploding blossoms of summer; and, more likely, the Federal Agency and the Postal Service will relegate the deadwood into the trash heap of corner offices and ignore those who are less productive. But that is not a reflection upon the Federal or Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition and can no longer perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position; rather, that is an indictment upon the Federal Agency and the Postal Service itself.
Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is merely another way to maintain the constancy of society’s unstated promise – much like the flower arrangement that intersperses the dead, the dying and youth – by asserting that legal rights still matter, and a medical condition does not necessarily mean that one’s career is just more deadwood at the back of the arrangement, but can still reveal a promising future for greater productivity in the private sector of life.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire