We were returning to our home after a few days away at a lake, and when we turned down our street, we noticed to our dismay that a third of the tree in our front yard had fallen on our car (another story). In the weeks that followed, the offending tree was cut up and removed. End of story right? Well not for me, time passed and one day as my wife and I made our way out to the front sidewalk to go for our walk, I noticed the most amazing thing. A spruce tree was struggling for life and growing out of the stump of the leafy tree that had been cut down. It was a tree but a tree of a different kind. It fascinated me then and it still does today! I will explain, but let us move forward about 15 years.
As I prepare to retire (in about 3 days) I feel like that spruce tree trying to start a new life but drawing it's resources out of the stump of the old tree. Let me explain, all of my life's experiences, skills, gifts, joys, sorrows, joys, etc. have been with me to this point in time. They have shaped who I am as a person. And yet now as I prepare to retire, I no longer minister to a church of people, and other pastors as I once did, but I will minister to others in my new life as a retiree in a different way. I am thankful that I do not get my sense of self-worth, and value from what I do i.e. my job. I get my sense of worth and value from who I am as a person, and I know that I am a child of God and He love me! My wife loves me! My children love me! My grandchildren love me! I have friends that love me (though the exact number I am not sure of) so I guess as I walk through the door of retirement with a sense of excitement, tempered with trepidation . . . I am a pretty blessed guy!