Friday, 6 June 2014

From There to Here and Not Having to Come Back from My Summer Holidays

If these were my holidays they would be over or close to it. But they're not. I'm retired (I know, I've been bleating on about it for some time now). I won't be back. I don't want to go back (although we are looking forward to returning to StB as parishioners, LORD willing and when the time is right). I believe it was God's timing to go when we did. But still. After forty-eight years of deadlines and appointments and struggling to fit what most often seemed to be too many things into my calendar, this is strange new country. Sometimes I like the openness. At other times I feel adrift. 

A good deal of my sense of being for the last forty-eight years has come out of what I did for a living. I won bread for my family. I really felt made for that. 

For twenty of those years I was enormously blessed to earn our living by telling stories with moving pictures in glowing phosphors. There were stresses and strains, but what a wonderful way to make a living! 

Then, after a brief foray into teaching television production and three years in seminary, it was ordination and parish priesting—Jesus and real life in his church—a big, messy family with all the gatherings, joys, sorrows, squabbles, beginnings and endings that go with it. 

What is like moving from there to here? Three images come to mind: 

From television days: so far retirement feels like going from the stress and hype of the shoot to the peaceful, dimly lit editing suite where you have time to look at everything you’ve shot, reflect and get it all to make sense so the story gets told—only there is no longer any deadline to keep me moving. 

Parenting: retirement’s like going from parenting’s challenging intensity to grandparenting's freer, more relaxed pace. 

Daily Devotions: retirement is going from praying the Daily Offices (Morning, Evening and Night Prayer) with the doings and anxieties of vocation and the parish and Sunday's worship and preaching always in mind, to worshipping and reading Scripture and praying non-productively, just because, just being present to The One in whom I live, and move (rather less often than before), and have my being.