Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What Retirement?

We often hear people who have retired say that they are busier than when they were working for a living.  When one thinks about retirement, thoughts of being able to relax, read books or watch unending hours of television with no particular cares might cross one's mind.  I have found, however, that this image of retirement, at least for me, has never been the case.
I have officially "retired" twice in my life.  The first was when I left employment with the State of New York in 1994 after almost thirty years of government service.  In 2006, I was appointed by my bishop to be the parish leader of a suburban parish in our diocese.  I retired from that position in 2010.  Since then, what has retirement been like?
For myself, just sitting around taking it easy would bore me to death.  Unfortunately, my physical well-being has not kept up with my mental well-being.  Arthritis has become increasingly more difficult for me but my keeping busy in a variety of ways keeps my mental well-being strong (at least I hope so).
As an ordained deacon in the Church, most of what I do to keep busy has to do with the Church.  I have been privileged to serve on two committees in our diocese (one on liturgy and one on ecumenism) as well as teaching homiletics (preaching) to those studying for the diaconate.  I also have assisted as deacon in two parishes and have twice served as an interim administrator of a parish while the parish leader was on medical leave.
I have enjoyed all of these endeavors and hope that I may be able to continue to serve the Church as long as my health holds out.  This coming Easter Sunday, I will begin my 80th year on this planet and I have been blessed in many ways throughout those years especially with a wonderful spouse and family who have supported my efforts.
My suggestion to anyone who is contemplating retirement: keep busy!  Nothing can bring one down more quickly than inactivity.  For me, I just hope that the Lord will grant me more years to be of service while I still can serve.

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