I will be 62 next month, April 23rd to be exact. At this time of life I pictured myself being ready to settle back, relax and let the younger people do things. I guess I imagined that I would have accomplished every thing important to do by now. How wrong I was. In some ways this seems to be a new beginning for me. Things that were important to me in my 20’s and 30’s seem no longer very relevant or at least as important as they once were.
When I was in my 20’s, the church I attended installed a new associate pastor. She had just graduated from seminary and was beginning her career in God’s service. She was 60!! I thought my gosh what is she doing…how can she want to be starting something like this at her advanced age. How unaware I was then of how much the “older generation” still has to offer.
Almost 3 years ago Gary Kennedy came to me with the suggestion that Janet and I become “Lay Persons assigned” at Haven UMC in Jerome. Janet and I both had talked about feeling a “call” many times. But now that the moment was here…I hesitated… “Am I really ready for this?” I had preached at Haven several times in 2011, and we had come to love the congregation and the community. But really? This now…at our age?
But Janet very quickly got caught up in my enthusiasm. Why not, we thought…now or never we both thought as I jumped into this ministry feet first, closing my eyes and holding my nose just as I jumped into the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean where I went on those long ago summers. And, just like at the ocean the experience has proved to be worth overcoming the fear.
I know it has been a short while, but I believe that I am viewing things much differently now. God has always been a very important part of my life…I long ago had learned the importance of putting God first in my life. First before everything, before work, before family, before friends. I prayed each night when I went to bed. We said grace at (almost) every meal. But had it become more of a habit than a need. More of a “way of life” than an essential part of my life.
I have been reflecting on this recently…where had the excitement gone?
My mother-in-law told us a while back, that every morning when she wakes up she recites… “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it”. What a wonderful way to begin the day! Thanks to this “late in life calling,” I am feeling that excitement again. I have jumped in the cold clear water and re-emerged feeling refreshed, excited and ready to face a new life, a new challenge and a new direction. Some days it will still be put one-foot in front of the other and get things done as before, but now I feel a new richness and the possibilities are endless. I hope you feel that way too.
Peace and grace,