Today I enter into my 6th decade. It seems really weird to write that! Like George Bailey, I have been blessed with a wonderful life so far. It has had its ups and downs filled with both good times and bad. And now, today, here I am on my 60th birthday. I wasn’t sure about entering into a new decade and I am also having a hard time wondering where the 60 years have gone! But I am looking forward to what the future holds and the adventures I will have whatever they might be. I look forward to watching my grandchildren grow up and welcoming any new grandchildren if that is in the plan. I look forward to spending time with family and friends making new memories. And I look forward to retirement and spending time with my husband getting into all kinds of mischief. I am looking forward to each new day with anticipation of all the exciting things each new day will bring.
I am also looking forward to the new ways God will use my gifts and talents in the next decades to come. As I approach what will become my retirement years, I can’t help but wonder what ministries I will get to participate in and the impact they will have on me as well as the impact I will hopefully have on the people I minister to. Because I know that while God calls us to have rest, it is why God created Sabbath, God does not call us to retire. In fact, there are plenty of things we can all do as we get older. One of the biggest blessings I think we can both give and receive is the blessing of being a mentor to someone who is just beginning.
You see, in our retirement years, we no longer have to be in charge. We have been there done that.
So now we get the privilege of stepping aside and letting younger folk step up into jobs and ministries where they get to try out their leadership skills and ideas and we get to offer a safety net: A person they can come to when they need guidance, advice, support, encouragement, even a shoulder to cry on when things fall apart because sometimes they do fall apart. When they do, we can give them a helping hand as they stand up, dust themselves off, and begin again. Mistakes no matter how large or small are learning experiences. They are not places where we should beat each other up and point our fingers to lay blame somewhere other than at our own feet. Mistakes help us grow, and at 60, I have made my fair share of mistakes and I have learned and grown from each one.
So I think, in these next decades, and I hope God will give me quite a few decades, I will offer my support to those who are just beginning, starting over, or wherever they may find themselves in their own life journey. I hope I will be able to give them the encouragement to not only lead into the next generation but to shine.
So here’s to turning 60 and all the adventures the next chapter of life holds.
Peace, Pastor Beth