Life after retirement

Is there life after retirement?

When I was a young man, I looked forward to the weekends so I could go out. Now that I'm an old man, I look forward to the weekends so I can stay home.

So, what kind of life is this ... after retirement? Is it a life of growth, stagnation, or decline?

My questioning was stimulated one day when I sang a favorite song, Morning Has Broken, and noticed some fine print regarding the words of the song and their author, Eleanor Farjeon. The text of Morning Has Broken was copyrighted in 1957. Eleanor Farjeon lived from 1881 to 1965. That implies she was 76 years old when she wrote Morning Has Broken.

If Eleanor Farjeon had rested on her laurels when she reached the age of 60 or 65, Morning Has Broken wouldn't exist for us to enjoy.

I know there are many others who didn't rest on their laurels - or on some part of their anatomy - when they reached senior citizen status. The famous ones are known by name - people like Galileo and Mother Teresa.

Galileo (1564-1642) was 69 years old when his revolutionary scientific work showing that the Earth moves earned him a trial for heresy by the Vatican.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997) was also 69 when she won the Nobel Peace Prize. She continued working in her ministry to the poor until her death at age 87.

But who wants to compare himself or herself with them?

There must be others who are not famous - people who are known or were known only to family and friends - and who kept the faith by climbing to new heights even in their senior years.

In my own life - personal and especially spiritual - am I reaching for a new level of growth, for new challenges and accomplishments? Or am I coasting on a plateau? Or, perhaps, losing ground?

In the inspirational classic God Calling and its sequel God at Eventide, we read:

Progress is the Law of Heaven. Higher, ever higher, rise to Life and Beauty, Knowledge and Power. Higher and higher.
Tomorrow be stronger, braver, more loving than you have been today.
The Law of Progress gives a meaning, a purpose to life.
(God Calling, September 5)

However long your span of life on earth, it can never be too long for growth and progress.
(God at Eventide, February 7)

There is no standing still in the Christian life. If there is not progress, there is retrogression.
(God at Eventide, May 14)

I came to found a Kingdom of Progressive Growth.
Alas, how many of My followers think that all they have to do is to accept Me as Saviour. That is a first step only.
Heaven itself is no place of stagnation. It is indeed a place of progress. You will need Eternity to understand the Eternal Mind.
(God Calling, July 26)

The French priest, Abbe Michel Quoist, is his popular book of Prayers wrote:

Lord, ... every day you say "yes" when old Mother Nature asks permission to take a few hairs more from the rapidly clearing field.
You said it in your Gospel: "not one hair of your head falls without my permission."

It's true, Lord, that you are always thinking of us.
It's true, from the beginning of time, before we existed,
Even before the world existed,
You have been dreaming of me,
Thinking of me,
Loving me.

And it's true that your Love created me,
Not on an assembly-line, but unique,
The first one so made, and the last,
Indispensable to humanity.
It's true, Lord, that you have conceived for my life a unique destiny.
It's true that you have an eternal plan for me alone,
A wonderful plan that you have always cherished in your heart, as a father thinks over the smallest details in the life of his little one still unborn.
It's true that, always bending over me, you guide me to bring your plan about, light on my path and strength for my soul.
It's true that you are saddened when I stray or run away, but that you hasten to pick me up if I stumble or fall.

Lord, you who make bald heads, but above all beautiful lives,
You, the divine Attentive One,
the divine Patient One,
the divine Present One,
See that at no time I forget your presence.
I don't ask you to bless what I myself have decided to do, but
Give me the grace to discover and to live what you have dreamed for me.

Amen.

~ Jim Stoffels
5 January 2002

Copyright 2002 by Jim Stoffels