My Next Season

This past month (January, 2014) we shared a condo at Fripp Island, SC with some close friends. We didn’t stay together as couples except for one weekend, but the place was available for us to come and go. It wasn’t exactly beach weather. It was sub-freezing some of the time and the wind blew straight off the At,antic Ocean, but we had beautiful sunrises and sunsets visible through the windows, and plenty of fresh seafood available.

But we didn’t go to be beach bums. We actually went to evaluate God’s purpose for us in this season of life. On the way there, my husband finally stated (at 78 years of age) that he was retired. That’s saying a lot for a man who farmed for 50 years, started a successful manufacturing company, reared five wonderful sons, and is still full of creativity and energy. His goal now? To be as close to the Lord as he possibly can, to have a more intimate relationship with Him, and to know Him better than ever before. (Those are his words—I just asked him to articulate them.) He also says he has never felt more contented.

The contentment part is the amazing thing. We’re finding that waking up and not having to be responsible for many things, compared to the past, is a big adjustment. It’s easy to feel purposeless in this season. Our challenge is to stay challenged.

On our return home, we stopped for a meal and our server was a young man, full of confidence and enthusiasm. Burt loves engaging servers in conversation (and anyone else for that matter) and finding out where they are in relationship to the Lord. This young man had his answers ready. We praised him, and reassured him that every season of life is exciting, that we were eager to see what God has for us to do. He was amazed. He said we inspired him more than anyone he had talked to, because he saw so many people (especially older ones) who were cynical and critical.

Our goal is to keep our enthusiasm. As long as we know God has a purpose in our lives, we can. When we lose sight of the reason we’re living, I believe we start to die.

During Christmas, when all our sons were home, we had a visit from a precious woman who helped me in the house when the boys were growing up. She is such a treasure. She’s 94, as firm and trim as ever, mentally sharp as can be. The morning I called her to set up a visit, she was shampooing her carpet. The day before she had been trimming her shrubbery with a machete. I love that woman. As she was leaving our house, I said, “Emma, I want to be like you!” She answered with all the assurance anyone could give, “Why, Honey, you will.”

That’s the confession I want to hear, and the attitude I want to pass on to those coming behind me.