Pop Pop Epistle # 191 – About Retirement (Part 1) – The Surrealness

Dear Grandkids,


That is one of the words that I have used to describe my retirement so far. It is very hard to believe that I could have possibly been at Ridgecrest Baptist Church for 30 years much less another 10 years at Providence Baptist in Raleigh. 40 years of ministry sounds like a long time and it makes me seem old. And yet, I still feel like the new kid on the block – until I look in the mirror or listen to the noises I make when I try to stand up.

40 years ago Ronald Reagan was president. The Berlin Wall still stood. 911 was a number you called in case of emergency and not a date of infamy. Interest rates were down to 13%. (They had been 18% in 1981). The NC State Wolfpack were NCAA basketball champs. Seve Ballesteros was the reigning Masters champion. And the New York Mets were just 3 years away from their historic World Series win. No one owned a mobile phone. No one had personal computers. And mass shootings were pretty much unheard of.

Nona and I had been married for 2 years and none of your parents had yet to be born. Our “baby” was a beautiful golden retriever named Cassidy. We had just moved to Raleigh from the Boston area where I had finished seminary. We started doing student ministry at Providence as volunteers which turned into an internship which turned into a full time staff position. We did student ministry for 25 years and then as I approached 50 years old transitioned to other staff roles.

I think retirement is a funny word. It generally means that you stop getting paid for a job that you have been doing for a long time. Perhaps you have heard it said, “find a job that you love doing and you will never have to work a day in your life.” My job has never seemed like work. It hasn’t always been easy but it has never seemed like work. I have been extremely blessed to be financially compensated for doing something that I love. What a great way to spend my vocational years.

Fred Rogers once said, “Often when you are at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” Well I am at the end of my vocational years but most definitely at the beginning of something else. Some of that is yet to be determined but I have no doubt that this great adventure of life will continue because of the values that drive my life – which will not change just because I am “retired.” My next epistle will explain what those values are and how they will shape my retirement years.

Never forget that you are very loved,

Pop Pop

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