Archive for October, 2009

Early this morning I was seated in my living room staring out through the sliding doors at the beginnings of a day still blanketed in darkness. As my gaze wandered across the black landscape, looking at the multitude of sparkling lights which seemed to give promise of some life in the cities which hugged the valley floor, I began to contemplate the reality of the retired life. That’s right–retired. The “R” word.How can that be? I am surely not old enough to be retired! Retired? You must be kidding me!

Retired people are old people, arent’ they? If they weren’t old they no doubt had a rich uncle for a benefactor who died early and left them a tidy sum of cash to dispose of. And I am just not that old, or at least I don’t feel old…..till I try to crawl out of bed early in the morning…..or work to drag myself out of the car after a long drive seated in the same position. Now, I must admit, there are a few times like that when I wonder if old age may be approaching. And of course I have to agree that I feel shortchanged if I miss out on my regular afternoon nap. Yes, I do take a nap. You don’t have to be old to do that, do you?

But, don’t retired people just sit around, like on a porch swing or in a rocking chair, and watch the world go by? People who are retired usually go to a warm climate in the winter so the cold weather does not hinder their lifestyle, right? And if you are really retired, don’t you feel that way? Just what does a retired person look like? How should they act? Do they talk different than anyone else?

Hmmm. I just happened to think of one retired person who I always had deep respect for–my Dad. He seemed too young to retire when he stepped into that uncharted territory of his life. He didn’t look any older after he left 32 years of employment as a postmaster in a small, rural community of North Idaho. He didn’t act any older to me, either. As I watched he and my Mother they seemed to be just as active as ever though they did seem to take a few more trips to the mountains and the Oregon Coast since they had a bit more time to spare. I think my Dad also took longer naps, and he certainly spent more time with the grandkids, which they all seemed to enjoy. He also began to spend more time in the kitchen, grinding flour in a small flour mill and baking bread once each week that would make your mouth begin to water before you opened the door to their home. He also spent more time caring for his lawn and the flowers around their home.

One of the really neat things about my Dad’s retirement was that he seemed to have more time to talk with me when I stopped by. He rarely seemed to be in a hurry. I liked that. I miss that, for you see, my Dad’s gone now. Though it is a bit frightening, it seems I have stepped into that vacancy he left behind. I wonder how I will do? I hope I will take occasion to remember my Dad and his seeming approach to retirement. And what was that? Though he did slow his pace, somewhat, I don’t think he ever quit. Life still held its challenges which he enjoyed facing. Life still had its occasional troubles which he faced squarely and worked through. And life continued to hold its joys and the good things that made up each day. He never saw growing old as an impairment–it was simply part of life. He continued to be useful throughout his entire life.

My Dad reminds me of many of the well-known people in the Bible. In Exodus 7:7, we read these words, “Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.”

Wow! These guys were still being used to lead a nation in what some would have seen as the “declining” years of their lives. And they still had a lot of years to go. They were of value and did not see their age as a hindrance when it came to serving God and His people. I wonder how I stand in light of their example–and the example of my Dad? Maybe retirement won’t be so bad–if I maintain a Godly attitude.

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