In April of 2012 I turned 70 years old and retired from “active ministry” – major responsibility for a church institution.
I was not sure what retirement was all about. The diocese had provided seminars on financial planning relating to retirement; they also offered assistance regarding Social Security and Medicare. All of this was very helpful, yet no one sat down with me to explore what the next stage of life might be for me.
For the first time I am in a place on which I will never look back; I will not grow out of this place as I grew out of childhood, adolescence, middle age, etc.
I spent the last half of 2012 looking. “How am I going to find out what I am supposed to do? How do I deal with the loss of a very active way of living?” I sought the help of a counselor. We met a number of times; I had homework to do. In the process it came to me that the issue was not “What am I supposed to do?”
The issue was more “Who am I supposed to be?” This led me to investigating a spirituality of aging. Growing old can be a spiritual journey – a window onto God’s love and mercy.
In the next few weeks I will use this space to offer some of what I think I have learned about graceful aging. There are no rules in this journey, there are attitudes – humility, openness to some thing new and willingness to walk into some place new.
There are so many things I know, have been taught, learned and experienced. There are far more things that I don’t know, and I know that I do not know, e.g. foreign languages, so much of psychical science, the world of Africa and the Far East, etc.
The real new walk is in the 99.9% of what God has created and exists around me about which I know nothing, and do not know that I do not know.
How to make that journey?
Fr. Steve Adrian