Getting Better

Fixate On Your Cell Phone, Remote Control, and Daily Pills

“Here I go again, another time of retiring,” I told Ed. I told him this because once you retire, you do not necessarily stay retired. For the last two years, I was filling in at a church during their pastoral vacancy. It ended last week with the installation of their new pastor. Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, sees retirement as a time when the living is secure and comfortable for others. My old neighbor could retire himself, but he would rather be chained to his Quonset and face a firing squad.

To say that Ed has a negative view of retirement would be right on the money. Retirement for Ed is a slow death where you fixate on your cell phone calling others to tell them what you miss from the good old days. No one cares if you miss coal furnaces, outhouses, water from the handpump at the well, or coonskin hats. For Ed, the worst thing about retirement is that nobody even your longsuffering wife cares if you control the remote control anymore. According to Ed, the most laborious thinking a person does in retirement is keeping their pills straight and taken every day not three times a week.

I have tried to tell Ed that withdrawing from your job does not mean your life ends; but that your life opens up to other possibilities beyond working. In retirement, Ed could travel in a motorhome to any place he desires. He could play all the golf he wishes. He and Ruby could buy motorcycles and learn the feel of the open road. Ed could run for public office and straighten out the city, province or country at long last. Ed could also fish and hunt to his heart’s delight. So far, Ed has resisted any hint that retiring could be a positive season of life for him.

Retirement like all the seasons of our lives offers both positive and negative circumstances for our growth and maturity as individuals. Ed asserts that if he puts off retirement long enough, he will die before he needs to change his ways. I sure won’t try to persuade Ed to change his views on retirement, because change comes whether we resist it or not. The time for Ed to turn off his farming will happen, and he will restart his life in a different direction as it suits him then.

Perhaps one of the great idols of our life is our work. It can become our identity, it is our pay cheque, it is our challenge, and our satisfaction. For many their lives revolve around their jobs and they never realize it until they retire. Retirement for seniors means a time to re-access their lives as the years of their lives wind down towards their end.

Where will a retiree spend his or her eternity after death? The question of the reality of God and heaven and hell cannot be ignored. As the Bible says, “There is a time to be born and a time to die. Christians face death with hope, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

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