Reflection is a large part of entry into retirement. When I took the part time job I will be leaving soon, I remember thinking about how much change has occurred over the course of my lifetime in general and over the last 45 years in particular.
As we all know, change is inevitable. We change jobs, and we will leave old homes and move into new houses. We will have children, and those children will grow up, change schools, graduate college, marry and have children that we as grandparents will hover over. Our parents will move from the home we grew up in, then create a large void in our lives as they pass away. Change can bring both joy and pain…it’s part of life.
Once many years ago, I was enduring one of those painful changes when I was forced to sell a struggling business and find an opportunity elsewhere. I went to see a friend as part of the networking process who put what I was going through in the proper perspective for me. This friend reminded me of a great scene in the movie City Slickers. The scene depicts a group of men sitting together and one of them is bemoaning all the trouble he has been through lately. This man wonders aloud “Why can’t I just have a normal life?”. To this, another man in the group replies, “There’s no such thing as a normal life…there’s just life!” That one discussion had a profound impact on my attitude about struggling with change.
In a lifetime filled with change, the one constant throughout it all for Helen (adorable wife) and me has been our relationship with our church, Sequoyah Hills Presbyterian. Thankfully, the Lord led us there nearly forty years ago. In those forty years, all of the changes mentioned above (and then some) came and went, and through all of them, we were blessed to have the church to share our great delight in times of joy, and to lean on in times of great difficulty. Contributing to the sense of stability we get from our church is the fact that in all of those forty years we have had only one change of Senior Pastor, and that change only occurred within the past few of years. Both of these gifted men are tremendous servants of our Lord and have served Him, and us, extremely well.
With full retirement upon us, that relationship with, and the activities of, our church becomes even more prominent part of our lives as we seek to fill the void once occupied by our careers.
Regretfully, I admit that when I was working and helping to raise our children, the thought of placing additional activities on my schedule was too much to bear. Wasn’t I doing enough? Looking back on it, probably not, but now, with more than enough time on my hands, I have eagerly looked forward to such activities as supper clubs, weekend retreats, and wonderfully presented lectures on Christian art given by a retired college professor, just to name a few. Helen has been a member of the choir for several years, and now she has gained great pleasure from arranging church flowers as well as gathering flowers after church services and distributing them to hospitals, nursing homes, and charitable organizations. She has also been involved with a group which fills backpacks with food and places them with a local elementary school (sponsored by Sequoyah Hills Presbyterian) that has a number of children with significant needs, food being just one of them. There’s also the pottery class that she won’t miss, and has me wondering if I’m going to lose part of my cherished man cave to a display case!
These activities are several among many. I read our bulletin each week to learn about how much there is to do, and learn that as we ease along on this journey, there is more than enough there to help me grow, both personally and spiritually.
Looking forward to it eagerly.