It is the epitome of a pleasurable moment, of engaging a mindless activity which spurs thought; and so to fly a kite is to soar with winds beyond our reach. Does a life lived vicariously live life lifelessly? As the flapping breeze at heights unreachable carries it airborne with but a thread to preclude its sudden spiraling away and into an abyss of telephone wires, treetops and treacherous heights of threatening snags, it is that hand which holds steady the coil of connection which controls length, movement, and steadiness of stability.
How tenuous is the reed of life? When once youth masked the viscosity of existence, where mortality seemed but a yarn of empty rocking chairs and tall tells in the shadows of the flickering embers of a warm fireplace; and how the tenacity we maintained with vigor and vitality concealed those fears we harbored as we set about to conquer the challenges of an uncertain world; but when the fanfare subsided, and the promises of unspoken ceremonies fell silent before the finish line, the realization that life is but a short span of eternity where worth and value can be embraced only by measuring the momentary warmth of a hug or holding a gaze with a loved one for a millisecond beyond the practical, then does one finally achieve a balance of peace in a universe of turmoil.
The holidays tend to bring such realizations to the fore; so do medical conditions and their impact upon body, mind and soul. If by “soul” we attribute, just for a moment, not that controversial component of man where existence beyond the ephemeral world of matter must by belief encompass eternity, but instead, the aggregate of man’s complexities: of mind, physical body, consciousness, the heart and vegetative divisions, etc. — then it is indeed the totality of man who is impacted by a medical condition.
For Federal and Postal employees who find themselves with a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, the tenuous reed of life becomes exponentially magnified because of the stoppage of career, intervention of life’s goals, and interruption of all of the “things” that need to be done. An interrupted life is like the proverbial ship without sails; the moorings have been damaged, and one senses a drifting without control.
Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is a pragmatic step for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal Worker who cannot perform each of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position. When a medical condition impacts a Federal or Postal employee, it is the pragmatic steps — the ones which can actually realize a practical outcome — which counts for something.
If you are a Federal or Postal employee under FERS, and you have at least 18 months of Federal Service, then you have already met the minimum eligibility requirement to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits. If you are a dinosaur under CSRS or CSRS Offset, then you have likely already met that requirement, anyway. All that is necessary is to put together a case of proving that one’s medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, by a preponderance of the evidence.
For, in the end, it is that thin thread which guides the pleasure of flying a kite which stands between chaos and connectivity; letting go should not be the only option; it may just be a little tug which is all that one needs, in order to steady the flight of life and retain that childhood sense of invincibility.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire