Are you like me? Do you love it when it’s your turn?
- When you have a conversation, do you find yourself hoping the other person shuts up so you can have your turn?
- When you stand in line at McDonald’s the best word you can hear is “next.”
- And, after waiting at the license bureau for 45 minutes while clutching your little paper number, the red lights finally announce it’s your turn!
I’m in love with my turn.
But as I get older I’m realizing “my turn” is not always exciting. Sometimes it is frightening; even disorienting.
This week David Letterman had his turn. Before him had gone Jack Par, Johnny Carson, and Jay Leno. And now it was his turn. Letterman said goodbye to the job he loved.
He announced his upcoming retirement a year ago on the show while telling the story of going fishing and seeing a large bird. He couldn’t decide if it was a bald or golden eagle. At work the next day he scoured the internet trying to figure it out. He involved members of his staff. All hands on deck worked together to discover the answer: an immature bald eagle. When he got home he told his wife the news. She laughed and then asked him who had been on the show. Letterman, as he tells the story, realized he couldn’t remember. At that precise moment he knew his turn had come.
So for the past year Letterman played it smart. No one forced him out. He proactively set plans into motion for the transition. And as he wrapped up his career he also worked on the next chapter of his life. He’s purchased a ranch in Montana and is raising bison. A new chapter is beginning for the 68 year old star who realized it was his turn.
It’s unavoidable. If it hasn’t happened already your turn is coming.
Years ago I had a faint idea the time would come when it would be my turn to leave the ministry. My turn came September 2014. My energy and passion disappeared. I started dreaming more about things other than my pastoral ministry. So I resigned. Now I’m writing and working as an intentional interim pastor. Life is good even after taking my turn.
Here’s the thing. At some point it will be your turn. Maybe next month or 5 years from now, but it’s coming. What will you do when it’s your turn? Will you go into denial? Will you need to be forced out as you leave kicking and screaming? Or will you be proactive and exit gracefully?
The good news is this: life on the other side of “your turn” can be wonderful; even better than before. But you need to start now. Dream. Pray. Plan. Be fearless.
Poet Robert Browning captured this idea of moving on to the next chapter when he wrote:
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!’’
Randy…good to find you after all these years! Check out my blog to learn about “my time.” My big thing now is watercolor painting (see etsy.com). Loved this article. Keep cranking them out Bro.
Wally! Good to hear from you. I’ll check out your blog.
Your blog post is right on/write on. I wrote a similar cautionary tale when I retired from BGSU, and moved with my wife to Alaska. Here’s an excerpt from my “top ten list” ala Dave, when I first moved here.
“It is better to leave too soon than to stay too late: my first thoughts on retirement. I don’t know yet what this will be like, but it could be, as Joan told me, that it’s like when we were newly married, with adventure and excitement ahead, new horizons, challenges, just like it was in 1973. I am willing this to be so! We could not have imagined what God would unfold before us then. I am too old to entertain naiveté, but I am not so far gone not to want us to discover together a new path with passion and perseverance.”
Thanks Bruce for the insightful comment!
Another great post, Randy!
Great blog, Randy! Wouldn’t it be nice if we could give a year’s notice and ease our way into the next thing…
It just might be possible!
Well, last Friday was my last day as a K-2nd grade special education teacher. Big G had been after me to retire, but it took studying the book of Numbers to make me do it. I realized that the older generation of Israelites missed God’s blessing of the Promised Land because they refused to take the plunge and trust Him. So, they all died in the wilderness. When I turned in my retirement papers, I felt like a heavy backpack had been lifted off me. Am I scared? Yes! But I am excited, too! As Henry Blackaby said, “Watch to see where God is working, and (my paraphrase here) get on board that train!” That is what I intend to do, and I don’t want to miss even one blessing from God!
Congrats on the retirement! God has good things in store for you. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.