A New Chapter

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)

A week from today I will be waking up to new chapter called “retirement.” This is something that many, if not most, of you know very well from your own experience. Indeed, I have heard more than once how it seems one is busier in retirement than when working. I have also heard how important it is to develop a plan, routine, or roadmap, especially for the first year or so. I understand that pulling the normal-workday-schedule rug out from underneath one’s feet can leave one anxious and at loose ends. The way to avoid that is to keep a healthy schedule and explore at least one new activity each week.

Top of the list for the first year of retirement will be to get some exercise beyond skooching my desk chair around my office. Another thing on the list will be to explore some volunteer opportunities that keep me engaged with, and helping other, people. I would like to say that I will golf more, but course memberships and/or fees are not in the budget for now. I’ll probably play every now and then when invited to join. Of course, the opportunities to be with grandkids will increase, which is why I will need the exercise plan.

Eventually, maybe a couple of years down the road, I dream of getting back into doing some stained glass projects. Deb gave me a Father’s Day gift back when we lived in Michigan; it was a beginner’s course in stained glass at a local studio. I loved it, and until the past few years, had a great little space out in the garage for my projects. But the real dream would be to open a glass art studio where certain folks could spend creative time for a few hours a week in a safe and warm atmosphere of Christian fellowship: retired clergy, other retired, developmentally disabled adults, high school kids from at-risk homes. I have had that idea for a long time, and while I don’t know how realistic it is, or how it could ever come to be, I think it is a cool dream, and worthy of hope.

I feel grateful to have had some good retirement coaching along the way, because I think it is perilous to go along that path without good friends who have been there, even more than once. And I am certain that my own spiritual journey and growth will continue, because along with family it is my anchor.

I think back over the forty years since I was ordained, the different ministry settings, the many varieties of people, and I’ve learned that everything pretty much boils down to learning and love; what you take in, and what you give away; what you need and what others need. I am thankful to all of you at NUCC who have welcomed Deb and I, and for the opportunity to have been of service. Retirement happens, but good memories and good friends remain.

Prayer Focus: Naples UCC

Prayer: Gracious and Loving God, you have given us NUCC as an anchor, a place to belong, to grow, to give and to receive love. Watch over us as we move through these COVID times, and grant us your peace. May we give and receive grace upon grace as we serve you and each other in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.