Thursday, March 3, 2011

Retirement Day

Friday March 4 is here and that means I am officially retired.  That does not mean I am no longer working. It means after 15 years I am shifting gears. In my previous post I described an emotional journey that led to my decision to announce my retirement.  While this was one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make, I am excited about the opportunities I will face.

Fifteen years ago I was unemployed and not sure what I was going to do next. I did a lot of soul searching and praying asking God to speak to me in a clear and precise voice.  He did that through a book I bought because I liked the title.  The book? What Color Is Your Parachute by Richard N. Bolles.  This book is a practical guide for finding meaningful work and more importantly how to find your passion.  The appendix of the book put a spiritual spin on the process.  This is where God spoke to me loud and clear. Below are the words Robert Bolles wrote.
  1. Your first Mission here on Earth is one that you share with the rest of the human race, but it is no less your individual Mission for the fact that it is shared: and it is to seek to stand hour by hour in the conscious presence of God, the One from whom your Mission is derived. The Missioner before the Mission, is the rule. In religious language, your Mission here is: to know God, and enjoy Him forever, and to see His hand in all His works.
  2. Second, once you have begun doing that in an earnest way, your second Mission on Earth is also one that you share with the rest of the human race, but it is no less your individual Mission for the fact that it is share: and that is, to do what you can, moment by moment, day by day, step by step, to make this world a better place, following the leading and guidance of God’s Spirit within you and around you.
  3. Third, once you have begun doing that in a serious way, your third Mission here on Earth is one that is uniquely yours, and that is:
    • To exercise the Talent that you particularly came to Earth to use – your greatest gift, which you most delight to use,
    • In the place(s) or setting(s) that God caused to appeal to you the most,
    • And for those purposes that God most needs to have done in the world.
Once God spoke, and I acknowledge His message, I found a job listing in the local newspaper advertising for a computer trainer.  I submitted my resume believing I could do the job even though I had no experience as a  computer trainer.  In fact, I had no experience as an educator other than teaching Bible study lessons to adults in my church. I got the job teaching computer classes at Driscoll Children's Hospital and the rest, as they say, was history.

For the past 15 years, my Modus Operandi has been a paraphrase of Mr. Bolle's words above.
  1. Glorify God in all you do, think, and say (1 Cor 10:31)
  2. Pay attention to your shadow for this is what follows you, it is what you leave behind; hopefully God’s goodness and love. (Ps 23)
  3. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps 37:4)
While I am sad to leave many wonderful and dear friends, I am excited about retirement. I am more certain today that this is all in God's plan for me. Monday, March 6th begins a new adventure.

I leave you with the following quote from the Charles M. Schultz.

"Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use."

Perhaps it time for some of you to learn to shift gears.