we are not retired, we are recalibrating, and reinventing, and re-creating

– official 42nd anniversary portrait

Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
    and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
 Even when I am old and gray,
    do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
    your mighty acts to all who are to come. Psalm 71:17-19

Retirement is defined in terms of what is not happening any more. But we need a word that talks about what is happening!

Every time Rebekah and I celebrate our anniversary – and this has become a deliberate conversation for 42 years now – we take a look at where we are and where we are going. This time (over a delicious dinner at the Outback Steakhouse) the “where are we going” part was a lot harder to get our teeth into.

What has happened, reduced to the most simple understanding, is that we have entered what is essentially the third part of our lives.

I) First there’s the Growing Up part. II) Then we have Making a Family and Crafting Careers. III) Now it’s Retirement – the balance on the other end (25 – 40 – 25).

We need a new word:

But I think we need a new word for part III. “Retired” is a concept defined in terms of the negative (left a job, ceased to work, ended a career, withdrawal, retreat…); it’s about what is not happening any more. But we need a word that talks about what is happening.

How about re-creating? It’s the root idea of recreation, and it is built around “create” – one of the best ideas possible when we understand ourselves as beings made in the image of God.

Recreation is not just pleasure and leisure, it is refreshment and restoration too; it is reinvention and it is reinvigoration.

So Rebekah and I are not “retired” now so much as we are re-creating our lives. This time is going to be about refreshment, restoration, reimagining, regeneration, and recalibration.


I like that word too, recalibration. I think recalibration is what we are up to now. Rebekah and I are reimagining what life is going to look like given the fact that she is no longer the pastor of a vibrant, active congregation. Meanwhile I am still doing some freelance writing, and we are still living next door to – I am still taking care of – my parents.

– in the mountains last week

Most importantly, however, our fundamental calling has not changed. And that is the call to live the Jesus message of love, light, grace, mercy, justice, hope, reconciliation, and promise; to live this message with faithfulness and with clarity.

We are not retired, we are recalibrating, we are reinventing… so we can re-create… so we can continue to be faithful to our calling to follow the Way of Jesus. – DEREK


  1. I read this to my husband Bob Williams. At the end of next month, he steps down from his 37 year position as city attorney of Tavares, FL. Although he will still dabble at “lawyering,” this is a big step toward retirement. Your blog today was spot-on for us! I love the term “recalibration.” It is an active and positive word! We have always disliked the term “slowing down.” We chose to call it “playing more!” Now, it’s “recalibration” for us. BTW, tell Becca that I’ve never forgotten her wonderful sermon at 1st Pres, Leesburg — “Ministry in the Checkout Line.” I practice it every day, and think of her each time I do it!

    Love, Julie Williams <

    During this recalibration time, come see us either in FL or TN. Give Becca my # 352.455.2853

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Derek, this post really speaks to me – resonates (another “re-” word). I am retiring from active ministry at the end of November and just told my congregation this past Sunday.
    Inspired by what you have written, I am asking my congregation to give me words beginning with “re-” to use in my new venture in living. I’ve worked in education and church/ministry since the age of 14 – 59 years! I truly will be off on a new adventure.
    One member has already started my list with “reconnect” – with friends and family I haven’t had time to be with much in recent years.
    Thank you and Rebekah, for this piece of inspiration in my next steps!
    Blessings to you both!
    II couldn’t respond to you sooner because Velva would have known?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • “R” words R the best! Especially “R”ebekah!
      Congratulations on your upcoming “R”einvention. May it be filled with “R”emarkable and “R”adical “R”egeneration (and more)


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