Today begins the first day of the next 3rd of my life – retirement. For the past six years I have been “not retired and not required” as I tried several forms of ministry – hospice chaplaincy, being a coach/mentor to four pastors, part-time service with First Presbyterian in Columbia and Mexico (two Missouri cities, not countries), and wandering preaching with wandering sermons to fill vacant pulpits.
At last Saturday’s meeting, Missouri Union Presbytery (where I was ordained 38 years ago) granted me Honorable Retirement Status. I retired before the “honorable” part ran out. While I can retire from being a pastor, I don’t retire from being a disciple of Jesus. One way I seek to follow the path I’m on is to write, and thus I’m trying this blog again.
I remind you that this is called “Reflections and Questions” – a place for sharing reflections from my journey and asking questions to help you on the path you are walking and making. I hope you’ll join me again or anew.
For decades our Presbytery has honored each retiree with words of appreciation. Like a funeral, it helps when two people are designated to speak. Two keeps it from going too long, and asking ahead spares the embarrassment of nobody speaking at all. Like a funeral, it’s better when words of appreciation are shared while people are alive when they can hear them. While I appreciated the support I received on Saturday, I also have appreciated encouraging words all along my journey. I have tried to live a life of gratitude in response.
Who needs to hear a word of appreciation from you today? If you know what you’d want to say at someone’s retirement or funeral, how can you find an opportunity to share with them ahead of either event? How do you receive praise or appreciation when people give heartfelt thanks to you?