“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Ten years ago over a glass of wine, my college roommate and I laughed until midnight trying to generate ideas of what we would do when we no longer did what we always had done. It was harder than we thought. We both loved our vocations, and admitted that it would serve us well to get better hobbies, or maybe a pet. It seemed easier to get a dog than a hobby, so I did. She did the same. Still, we were slightly troubled by the fact that we couldn’t imagine knitting multi-colored toilet paper covers in our old age, as did our grandmothers. Please don’t take offense if that’s your passion. It’s just that I have the eye-hand coordination of a small child so that project doesn’t quite work for me.
There’s a whole batch of us folk transitioning now to a new season of life here in our community. We’re watching those who have successfully navigated this life change as children observe adults slant-wise while doing other things. The lot of us have spent decades engaged in all manner of enterprises: teaching school children, running businesses, catching babies as they are birthed into the world, catering food for the hungry, coaching or preaching.
People ask us if we’re excited about retirement. I suspect that’s like asking a five-year-old if they’re excited about starting school, or for that matter a twenty-five-year-old about to get married. If they had any sense at all of what the future might bring, they’d more appropriately be terrified, as their world will irrevocably change. Whether stepping into a new season of life or into eternity, we’re sure to be surprised.
Just for today, a week and change away from my last worship service as a settled church pastor, I’m more grateful than anything else. I’m grateful if God has found me useful in some way for some body at some time as the bearer of God’s Good News. I’m grateful for the privilege of bearing witness to the presence of Christ in all the fullness of our shared human experience. And I’m grateful that by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, we’ve known the depth and richness of love, which is after all, the only thing God has asked us to do.
Prayer: God of every season, before all time and beyond all time, create in us a greater capacity to love and live gratefully whatever the future may bring. Amen
God’s grace, mercy and peace,
Pastor Anna Verlee Copeland
Together, we can bring Christ's word and work to the world.