Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Thinking Ahead

I was reading an article in the Sunday newspaper that asked the question “When should a person retire”?  The answer was “Never”!  This answer was not based on the financial needs that many people will face in retirement.  The writer believed that even if a person is financially secure they should still never retire.  Does this mean that I should stay with my current employer until I keel over in my cubicle?  Unless I have the biggest surprise of my life that is not going to happen.  I know I have 2-3 years left of working for money before I can retire.  I plan to use this time to plan the rest of my life.  Yesterday morning I was sitting in the lobby of Jewish Hospital East while my wife having some blood work done.  I observed all the people walking into the hospital and I pictured myself being one of those guys pushing people around in wheelchairs.  I then thought back to a distant time when I was a young seminarian working in a soup kitchen for the homeless.  Over the years I have done other types of ministry as well.  Occasionally I imagine myself helping and working with my son who is a priest.  When I am no longer working to make a living I hope to devote myself to some kind of service and ministry.  I do this now to some extent in my daily work.  However, along with the opportunities for ministry at work I also have the responsibility to push and pull people along and on a bad day I must counsel them in the error of their ways.  Pushing and pulling and disciplining are not in my nature.  Nurturing and encouraging and helping are more my style.  I have never seen retirement as a time to come to a screeching halt and spend all my time sleeping in my Lazy Boy.  That is the quickest way to guarantee a short retirement.  I recently read a quote from Erma Bombeck who said “When I die I was to be totally empty.  I want to tell God that I used up everything He gave me”.  I think this is a great attitude.  I want to use every experience I ever had and everything I’ve ever done in some kind of service.  I want to use my nature, my personality, my education, my time as a monk, my life as a husband, father, and grandfather, my work experience and my management skills, as well as my ever present desire to practice kindness and compassion, in some type of service and ministry.  Whatever I am, whatever I have, I want to use it all up.   

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