My grandmother would never say the word "pregnant." Even "expecting" was too explicit for her. She'd rarely use "in the family way." In those days, the young couple didn't make a public announcement. It was spread through the family by way of the kitchen. I remember my grandmother heralding the news to several women who were helping in the kitchen.
"Jean is, well, you know. . ."
One of her younger daughters blurted out, "Mom, just say it. She's pregnant. She's pregnant."
That's how I'm feeling now. No!! Not pregnant!! Reluctant to make the announcement. I prefer to call it "A New Phase of Life", "Closing one door," "Making a change." But, truth is, I've retired from my beloved profession of teaching. It's not a joyous moment for me. I'm faced with the fact that perhaps my strength and stamina are declining. Okay. My strength and stamina ARE declining. I rarely even pretend to multitask anymore. One thing at a time is more than sufficient. Yet, I'm not ready for the rocking chair. Nor the senior center. If I spend too much time contemplating, I drive myself into a mild depressive state. Today was one of those days. Blah.
Isn't it marvelous that God always knows what I need? So today, he sent several angels of encouragement. One after another, each reminding me of an era, people that I had helped. Two of the four overtly thanked me for my help, influence in their lives. The other two greeted me happily, in such a way that it left me with that warm fuzzy feeling of having made a difference in the lives of people.
Within the space of an hour, a senior citizen, a twenty-something, a thirty-something, and a teenager stopped to greet me. All from differing eras, each expressing appreciation for my contribution to their lives. It was as though it were a "This is Your Life" episode orchestrated by God. One from teaching, one from my years as an immigration specialist, one a former church member, and the other a random stranger whom we invested in. Not an accident, I think. God has a sense of humor.
And, I still can't say it without making an apology or an excuse. I have retired from teaching. But I shall continue, possibly in another profession, possibly teaching in a different capacity. Certainly I shall remain open to the guidance of the Lord. If he can pull such diverse people together in such a sort time as a reminder to me of his hand in my life, he certainly can guide my next steps.
I am retired. . . or am I?