I’m Not Shy, But I Am Retiring
I presented a letter to church council last week, then a note went out to the congregation, and as of Monday it was “Facebook official” on Christ’s Lutheran’s FB page. After 20 years as Spiritual Formation Director, I will be retiring at the end of May. It feels a little unreal to even type this, and lends new meaning to the word “bittersweet.” But, as a writer, I know when it’s time to end one chapter and start a new one (or at least I hope I know).
When it all began, I was a mere slip of a 45 year old girl I’d been teaching Sunday School and giving of my time in many other ways at the church for 10 years by that point. When our Director of Christian Ed resigned in 2000, a search was conducted for a replacement. For nearly two years, the position remained unfilled, and things were starting to slide (it’s really tough expecting volunteers to work on endlessly with no one taking the lead). Finally one night, at yet another meeting on the subject, it was suggested that I take the job myself. I’ll never really know if it was said in jest, but I took it to heart and accepted.
Since then, it has been a two-decade long labor of love (mostly). I have helped nurture a generation of wonderful children and youth. Adult education became part of my portfolio as well. The seasons were marked with intense activity: Rally Day, the Advent Prayer Center, Christmas pageant and MLK Day of Service, followed by Lent programs, Confirmation, Vacation Bible School and the annual high school mission trips. I was too busy to notice that I was getting older, though my aching knees and back did a fine job of reminding me.
In recent years, I’ve been working ever harder on my freelancing, shoehorning an increasing number of writing assignments into my church schedule, between leading Bible Study and delivering children’s sermons. It has long been clear to me that I want to continue writing for the rest of my life, and I knew someday I’d need to devote full time energy to being an author. Gradually, friends began retiring, and they all seemed quite happy, and well-rested.
So here we are. I have eight more months before my final Sunday, ample time for the church to find my successor. Meanwhile I will not slow my pace, and I look forward to finishing strong. My church family took the news very well, wishing me happiness, not sending me on any guilt trips (speaking of trips, I am so excited about traveling more in the years to come, including that twice-postponed European vacation with Steve).
In the coming months, I will turn 65 years old. I will be married 45 years. And I will mark the end of my long time in this job. Milestone upon milestone. It’s been quite a ride so far, and I’m very, very grateful for every mile of the journey.