“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
October 31, 2014. That is the official date on the many documents required of me to make the transition from working to retired.
Many have asked, “What are you going to do in retirement?” The answer varies depending on whether I think they want the one sentence answer, the short elevator speech version, or an extended conversation about retirement. It also depends on what mood I’m in when I am asked.
The one sentence answer: Get married and start a new life with Tom Brandino in a new home. The elevator version: I’ll take a long pause to reflect on the amazing journey I’ve had from high school through college to marriage, babies, adult daughters with husbands and babies of their own who are now nearly ready to repeat the cycle again. Along the way I’ve done many different kinds of work and worked out of too many addresses and offices to count. My goal was to leave each place a little better than I found it. Time and others will decide if I succeeded or not in that effort.
I fondly recall many moments of beauty, contentment, passion, and excitement shared with people I have loved with an intensity I didn’t know was possible. I want to capture some of these now through writing to put those memories into some sort of order.
There were moments too of great pain and loss. Remembering some of them still brings on a dark cloud that starts the tears rolling again as surely as a dark cloud dumps rain on what was a sunny day. I want to use what I learned in those dark places to offer a soft shoulder and extend a helping hand to others in whatever pit they find themselves. Lord knows, there were plenty of people who provided that for me when I in the bottom of the pit wondering what to do next.
The rest of the story will unfold as all of life does – day by day. I’ll be recording it as I go along. We all have both our sweet and our sour memories calling for our reflection. Retirement is an invitation to pause to do that.
I’ve seen life from both sides now. With gratitude I recall, I really never have been alone on the journey, even in those times when it seemed as though I was. I know for certain I will not be alone on the rest of the hike to my final retirement day from this life. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” (Ps. 46:11).