Retirement has many benefits and thankfully my husband and I have good health and can enjoy the things we planned to participate in during this time of our lives. We love to travel, see kids and grandkids and of course don’t mind sleeping in on cold mornings, going for long walks and setting our own schedules. We are blessed and we know it. We never stop thanking God for our blessings of each other and good health.
However, when one has spent most of their life in a worldly workforce, with a pay check and rigid schedule, it is easy to get restless several months into retirement. I am told this is a normal mental posture so I hope this next story will help soothe the “What will I do now?” anxiety for people who feel displaced when leaving the traditional workforce. Sometimes it is just a matter of redefining the term vocation, and figuring out the new job description given by the best CEO of all time.
My husband, Keith, and I sat having coffee one morning last winter after a major snow storm. “I feel benched,” I told him. “You know like when major league players sit on the bench but don’t actually get in and play the game. I want to be doing something for God. I hear all these amazing stories at church about work God is calling others to do, and I just feel like He has put me on the bench. Maybe He really can’t use me anymore.” I hope this does not sound like whining. I just was questioning out loud and talking to my best human friend.
During my monologue the doorbell rang. Opening the door, I saw a young couple standing before me. “Can we shovel your driveway please? We don’t charge much and we could really use the work.” Keith had recently undergone minor surgery and was not able to shovel snow. Although our dear neighbor had been shoveling for us, there was a great deal of snow and more would be piled up by the time he returned from work that day. Keith agreed to let them shovel.
We resumed our coffee drinking and discussion. During the morning, the couple returned a few times requesting water and use of the restroom. We granted these of course and the mom in me rose up to offer protein bars, hot beverages and lunch to these kiddos. Determined to continue their work, they declined more food or drink beyond the bars and water. However, they did take our offer to earn extra money by shoveling a neighbor’s driveway. They returned after the shoveling was complete.
We invited them in to get warm and began a conversation about the art work in our home, their interests and their lives in general. The young woman informed us she was pregnant and asked if it would be too much trouble for Keith to drive them home because she was tired and they had no vehicle. While Keith collected his coat and keys, the young man turned to me and asked, “Christian?”
I completely missed his point. “No, our last name is Padgett.”
He smiled and tried again, “Christian?”
Once again on the wrong bus, I replied,“No. My husband is Keith and I am Laura.”
Patiently and with startling softness to his voice, he persisted. “I mean your faith, sister. Are you followers of Jesus Christ?”
“Oh. Yes. Yes, we are. How did you guess?” I stammered.
He smiled at me but did not reply. Instead, he handed me empty water glasses, protein bar wrappers, and offered his arm to his pregnant wife. I watched as they made their way to the truck and drove off on the snow-covered street. A smile rose from my heart to my lips, accompanied by not just a few tears. And in this quiet moment, alone in God’s presence, I heard Him say,
“Don’t ever think, child, that I can’t use you.
I have a job waiting in each day that is new.
No need to worry how you will serve me.
Just get up from sleep daughter, get up and see.”
Copyright September 2011
Lakewood, CO 80401