This past week I entered a significant time in my life. My last day of full-time work, prior to retirement, was last Thursday, June 11. It was a memorable day, with a lovely reception held at the nursing home, where I’ve worked as a chaplain for the last eleven and a half years. It was a beautiful day of greeting others, expressing my thanks and receiving theirs. I left that day feeling grateful and even overwhelmed by the many kind words and well wishes I received.
My entry into retirement was preceded by a few years of gradually feeling a need for change and a longing to experience life in a new way. At first I wasn’t sure what this newness would be or what it would look like, but I knew that this yearning inside me was real and that I needed to pay attention to it. Over time, ever so slowly, an idea was planted and a new dream took hold.
Next month my husband and I will move to our newly-built home in Charleston, South Carolina. Our main reasons for doing so include being closer to our son and to experience the outdoors more frequently throughout the year. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that running is a passion for me and I find much spiritual depth when I’m in nature. Though I love Minneapolis and am so grateful to all I’ve learned here, this next chapter in a different city will also be an opportunity to learn and grow, I’m sure.
I’m not sure exactly what I will do in Charleston. I hope to stay in touch with the core of chaplaincy work: to listen to the stories of others. I find this a sacred endeavor that touches me deeply and from which I learn so much. As I told my nursing home residents, they were my best teachers. I’m deeply grateful for them. And my hope–and my plan–is that I will keep learning from the gifts and life experiences of others.
Meanwhile, I’m ever so grateful to those who have assisted me so far in my journey. There is so much that I treasure and hold dear.