The congregation probably has a pretty good guess about what I’m going to say, I thought. I was walking to the lectern to deliver the Mission Minute at the end of worship service yesterday. Silently, I prayed to the Spirit then spoke.
After my two sisters and I left home, our mother went back to college and returned to teaching. She said, “Other than marrying your father and having you girls, that was the best thing I ever did.” Mother taught into her early seventies then, after retirement, volunteered in the resource room at her school for several years after my father died. Maybe your parents’ or grandparents’ later-in-life stories are similar to mine.
Western culture divides life into three stages: birth and education; work and family, retirement and death. As we moved into our retirement years, my husband Keith and I borrowed the eastern concept of four life stages—like the four seasons—adding a time for spiritual growth, reflection, and reconnection before retirement and death.
Third-stage-of-lifers are no longer focused on raising children, earning money to pay the bills, or pursuing success and honors. They have time to learn, reflect, and grow. Time to draw closer to God and heal past wounds. Time to explore, discover, seek meaning, share wisdom, and serve others. Instead of retiring, Keith and I call this process “re-missioning.”
After my children left home, I was living alone and planning to follow in my mother’s footsteps: teach until retirement then volunteer. That wasn’t God’s plan. Instead, He brought Keith and me together. Guided by the Spirit, we built a house, moved to the mountains, started new careers as writers, and joined Bethany Lutheran Church. Both of us became active in discipleship ministries and outreach in our neighborhood. Recently, I returned to an old enthusiasm. I hadn’t sung in a choir for years or touched my flute in over thirty, and now I’m part of Bethany’s music ministry.
I encourage all of you—first stagers getting your educations, second stagers raising families and working to earn a living, and my fellow third-stagers—to listen for the invitations that speak to your hearts. There are many opportunities to serve here at Bethany— ask the Stewardship Director or Pastor. Your service, like my mother’s, like Keith’s and mine, might be one of the most fulfilling things you ever did.
As I packed up my flute, I had another thought. This kind of invitation is never a guess. You will know it’s for you because it sings joy in your heart.
Link up with Five Minute Friday: https://fiveminutefriday.com/2022/06/16/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-guess/