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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Sunday, November 13, 2005


There are some that think being retired is nothing more than sitting around waiting for the prune juice to kick in and wondering when the rest of their life is going to start. I have been retired over three years now and the purpose of this missive is to set the record straight and to dispel any such negative propaganda, rumors, suppositions, hearsay, insinuations, innuendo and scuttlebutt.

To accomplish this, my first place of enlightenment was found in the book of definitions. What I found was mostly not surprising and did define what I have seen in the lives of some. One definition of retire was to withdraw or go away to a place of privacy and I don’t see anything detrimental to the retired one in just that – dependant on what one does or doesn’t do and eats or doesn’t eat and how long they stay in the secluded place.

Next definition of retire was to go to bed. Now I know this is descriptive of what we all do every night, but it could and has become a lifestyle to many – even otherwise healthy folks just go to bed – or couch and TV – and simply stop. The main problem with that is when a person stops going and doing, all sorts of things will catch up with them – all of which are unpleasant, to say the least.

If an automobile is not driven occasionally – whether it’s a young car or an old one – the battery will die and no longer crank the engine. The same principal is true for us humans – if we don’t cruise around enough to keep our “battery” charged, it will go dead and we might even have to be jump-started on the sidewalk of life. The general rule that applies here is use it, or lose it – with a healthy dose of maintenance thrown in as a necessity - this applies whether it’s your car or your body.

An additional meaning of retire is to fall back or retreat, as from battle or danger. The temptation is always there to barricade ourselves within our “safe fortress” and view the struggles and battles of life through the small portholes that retirement offers, never again venturing forth into the fray. This may prevent some of the sweat, tears and heartache, but it also has a limiting effect on the joy we can have in life at it’s fullest.

The normal definition of retire is to give up or withdraw from an office, occupation, or career, usually because of age. There is nothing wrong with this as long as the other definitions of this word - that I have somewhat skewed - do not come into play to spoil things.

To point out a solution for the dangers involved in retirement, I go to the root word “tire”. The definition mentions bad stuff like: exhausted strength, interest or patience, being bored or weary – all undesirable things. But there is definition 2 – a ring or band of rubber, either solid or hollow and inflated, or of metal, placed over the rim of a wheel to provide traction or resistance to wear. Of course you have already guessed that I’m going to bend this one for my intended purposes.

Sometimes we feel that the physical, mental or emotional “tires” of our lives are flat and that the tread is worn completely off – this is not the time to just sit there and rust, but time to “re-tire”. The great thing about tires is that you can acquire them with all types of treads for all kinds of driving conditions, but the best to keep our lives moving in the proper direction is the “all weather” and/or “all terrain” types. These keep us progressing forward, no matter what conditions exist all around us – even on the slippery slopes of the problems of life.

These retirement definitions – skewed or otherwise – do not apply to the genuine Christian because we should never retire. This because being a Christian is not a job but a way of life – and the only way to really live. The only exception to the retirement thing is when we feel like all our motivation and reason for moving on is totally flat, we can ask God to “re-tire” us. Ask Him for some of those “all weather, all terrain” tires so we can continue no matter what conditions the enemy might bring our way.

At times we all get worn and weary, but the Word says “in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength” and in another place “but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint”. No matter how old we are, there is the temptation to retire spiritually, but if we allow God to “re-tire” us, we can keep moving toward the higher goal. ec


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