Thursday, June 21, 2012
The month of June has been filled with the usual milestones that mark life passages – Jack’s and my 46th wedding anniversary, as well as several others in the family; the end of school and BSF; the beginning of summer; grandchildren arriving for the annual visit to their “holiday house.” And one more, a pretty big one for me – retirement after 31 years at my current school, as well as employment at a handful of schools early in my career.
There sure are a lot of lessons that can be learned from 31 years at the same place. Especially since neither the school nor I am the same as we were when I started there. The school has grown physically, both facility and people. I have changed physically too – a few more pounds, sags and wrinkles. It has recreated itself and its role in the community out of necessity and commitment. Over the 31 years, I was recreated, reborn, renewed by a loving God. Its position in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park has instilled a passion for the environment and sustainability. I still marvel and the beauty of my commute through the Park, but now within the context that This Is My Father’s World.
As my time to leave came closer, many people humbled me with emails, cards, notes and words. They spoke of shared love, nurture, encouragement, wisdom, and joy. I just closed my eyes and gave thanks to my Lord, who teaches all of us what such words mean. In the midst of such kindness, one card caused me to sink to my knees in gratitude and to weep. The printed card said, “Look forward to retirement as the reward it is for a job well done.” And she added in her own hand, “my good and faithful servant.”
A few days later some coworkers gave me a dinner, with a beautiful cake to end the celebration. The circular cake reminded me of the unbroken circle of God’s people and sweet words, “We love you” go round and round. As I drove home in the twilight, I remembered the words from a song when I was growing up – a secular song that could be sung by the God whose blessings make me so grateful: Find a wheel, and it goes round, round, round, As it skims along with a happy sound, As it goes, along the ground, ground, ground, ‘Till it leads you to the One you love!