I have taken on the challenge to blog each of the forty days of Lent (taking Sunday off, because Sundays are not counted in the days of Lent.) The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd posted an article on forty things to give up for Lent and it seemed a good thing to write a blog about the list. That is, it seemed a good idea until today, which is only day five! Today’s challenge is to give up “retirement.”
Since I am not retired, and probably won’t be for a few years, this seemed odd to write about. I also would not want to presume to tell retired people about retirement. Here is the statement from the article:
5. Retirement – As long as you are still breathing, you are here for a reason. You have a purpose to influence others for Christ. Our work is not always tied to a paycheck.
I agree with the sentiment, all of us have a purpose and that is usually not tied to a paycheck, but this seems a bit critical. Perhaps it is wrong of me, but I am looking forward to retirement. I would like to have more space in my days to spend with family, to do some of things I have always wanted to do, to volunteer more with organizations I believe in. Many of the retirees I know are just as busy now as they were during their “working” years.
So, what does it mean to give up “retirement” for Lent. I decided to reformulate the question. Are there things in my life and spirit that I have, for lack of a better term, retired from? Are there causes or beliefs that I have retreated from sharing because I am weary or tired or so over the “battle?” It seems that sometimes I get tired of the arguments that don’t seem to go anywhere, the letters and e-mails that are ignored or worse yet, sent a form letter response that has nothing to do with the content of what I had written.
So it isn’t about paid work or unpaid work that challenges me. It is that I don’t want to retire from life itself.
The truth is I will retire from a paying job someday. When I do, I want my life to still count for something, to make a difference in my community and in the world. Life, like retirement, is a journey and the journey can be amazing. I don’t want to withdraw from the world, I want to continue to be engaged and involved. I want to continue to support those institutions and ministries I believe transform the world and change lives and spirits. When I am no longer “working” for a living, I want to dream new dreams and have new visions and participate fully in this amazing life and world God has given.
So, on this fifth day of Lent, I am blessed to be working at a job I love and am challenged to not let myself retire from the people and the causes I believe are important. It is enough to walk with God, know I was created for a purpose and loved by God more than I can imagine. With that knowledge, I am graced to serve.