As an official old person, I am facing a new right of passage. I am retiring. Karen is retiring. I was ready to retire but not so much for Karen. Around Christmas time I told Karen that I would retire at the upcoming annual conference session. It went something like this.... "I am missing my adult children, I am missing my grandchildren as they grow up. Someone needs to teach Gabriel and Gabino how to play t-ball. Someone needs to teach Eli how to swim. Work gets in the way of my golf game. It is time. Continue as a district superintendent if you like but I will be spending 3-4 months per year in Texas." Karen confessed she might be resentful of my new planned for freedom so she acquiesced. That month she informed the Bishop that she would be retiring too.
Last night we had a gathering of other, soon to be retired, pastors from our area of Arizona. There were 5 of us in attendance that intend to retire on July 1 at annual conference session. I counted up years of service from those who will retire. 200 years as pastors and serving in ministry. Retirement does not mean we will no longer be in ministry. Retirement means we feel the freedom to do the ministry of our passions. Look out world, here we come.
In addition, around the table were two young women clergy who are in the early stages of their paid, professional ministry life. One said to Karen "You saved me for ministry. I was ready to quit but you showed me a new way and gave me a chance to practice ministry in a setting that I love! Thank you." Karen continues to be an inspiration to young clergy women everywhere and has been, for over 35 years, (btw... the shortest length of service of the 5 retiring pastors around the table) the most gifted pastor I have ever known.
The movers come to pack breakables on Thursday and load the truck on Friday. Any advice from you other old timers out there?