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.
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