Tag Archives: retirement

Screening Your Calls

callingWhatever your calling is as a service, follow it – that’s beautiful. ~ Hill Harper

This evening is my retirement party. That’s right; at 46 years old I am retiring.

Thirteen years ago we started home schooling our first born. Today is the last class I will teach to my own child, our second born, Amos. Today, after thirteen years of teaching, guiding, lecturing, demonstrating, and even banging my head on the table, I retire.

“Why did you decide to home school?” is a common question. The next common is, “Will you home school all the way through?” This last is asked with varying degrees of horror and respect.

We started this journey when our first son failed to thrive in the public school kindergarten. His personality and character traits didn’t meet the expectations of the school system, and rather than see him suffer more distress, disappointment, and depression, we removed him from that environment.

Some home school families say they were called from the beginning to educate their children at home. We never felt that. What we felt was a call to be the best parents we could be to Jonathan and Amos. So if we weren’t “called” to home school, why did we bother to go “all the way through”?

Because as time went by we could see the blessing and the correctness of the choice, for us, for our boys, for our family. We couldn’t explain it to you. Some people thought we were wrong. Some people tried to discourage us. But there was no denying the inner peace it gave us to choose home education.

Now that I am retiring, the most common question is “What will you do with all of your free time?”

Well, I am still going to teach home schooled students as a tutor once a week. I also thought I was going to teach online, but that avenue of income was thwarted, and I can only imagine it to be God. I threw out my sheep skin three times, and the answer was always “No.”

I also will serve at the rest home, at church, in the community. I will continue to look for ways to have a positive impact for Christ and the Kingdom.

But what I am called to do professionally is write. Again, I can’t tell you how I know; I can’t explain it. Some people think I am wrong, and some people discourage it. But the inner peace about it is encouraging.

Occasionally God calls in a loud, demanding voice. But more often he whispers and he waits. He waits to see if I will respond, if I will act, if I will obey. Afterward he gives the peace.

Until the peace comes is a frightening time of uncertainty, self-doubt, and frustration. You begin to wonder who really is on the other end of the line. I want to encourage you to not screen your calls; don’t ignore the directives. Don’t turn directions and go what seems to be the logical, practical way. God is seldom logical and even less often is he practical in human terms.

Have trees been rustling in the wind of his whispers? Do they seem like crazy voices, insane ideas, overwhelming endeavors and commitments?

It may be God calling. Will you answer? Will you act? Will you obey?


 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NRSV

The Golden Years

My younger son, all of sixteen years, is looking forward to retirement. He actually told us years ago that he just wants to retire, like Grandma. But now he has several months of work experience under his belt, and retirement is still his goal.

Amos is not lazy. I don’t want you to think poorly of him. He just wants to be in charge of what he does, not a slave to the demands of work.

A lot of people are like my son. They look forward to the end of the schedule, the alarm clock, and the insistence of a job. But what do they plan to do with the years that are left? Travel is an option for some, spending time with family and friends is on most lists, taking an afternoon nap is also an enjoyable goal.

Othmar Ammann
Othmar Ammann

In 1904, Othmar Ammann was a Swiss immigrant to America. He had an engineering degree from Switzerland and came looking for an opportunity. He found it in New York. Ammann helped design and build six of the eleven bridges that connect New York City to the rest of New York and New Jersey. Two of the bridges were the longest suspension bridges of his time. He helped build tunnels and skyscrapers for forty years, including the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge.

But Ammann didn’t want to work for others. He didn’t want the demands of supervisors and bosses. At age sixty, he decided to retire and do something he had wanted to do for years, to be his own man. So he formed his own engineering design company, and went to work.

He continued designing and building bridges, skyscrapers, and tunnels across the world. He worked on designs for the federal government to withstand atomic blasts. At age 86 he completed his final work the Verrazano-Narrows bridge in New York City, the longest suspension bridge holding that record until 1981. Ammann built no more only because he died.

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge courtesy MTA
Verrazano-Narrows Bridge courtesy MTA

Perhaps you are looking forward to retirement, wanting to get up when you choose, visit people you love at times that are not holidays, and just doing as you please. But just because you retire does not mean you should stop being useful. Many people need you still. They need your knowledge and skill, your creativity and interest, and your ideas. Look around you. Whom can you help? How can you help? The finish line might be in sight but you haven’t crossed it yet.

 

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. . .” C.S.Lewis