Our pastor resigned last week. Gone are the days (for which I am thankful) when all of the rest of the staff would have been required to resign as well. This brief descent into madness was meant to give the "new guy" a chance to form his own team. The intentions were good even though the chaos created by massive resignations was a bit hard on the church!
In any case, I mentioned to our elders that whoever they interviewed should be allowed the option of a grace period after his arrival during which he could decide whether or not the staff he had inherited was the right "fit" for his vision. I'm on staff so I was talking about myself and it was only later that I realized that the elder to whom I had spoken thought I was worried about my job security.
I'm 62—today. Given the trend in finding a senior pastor, it will likely be about two years before we find the man that God has for our congregation. If God chooses to parachute him in long before the stats say he's supposed to arrive I'll be more than happy. But supposing that we are as average as the rest of the world, I'll be 64 by the time the new man comes. It will take him a while to decide whether or not I "fit" and it may take me a while to figure out if I want to "fit." By that time I'll probably be 65 and about as unconcerned about job security as anyone can be.
I really was sincere in my concern that our new pastor, whoever he is and whenever he turns up, have the freedom to choose the people he works with. I honestly was not concerned about job security.
It sounds odd that I am thankful for being 62, and for being able to say honestly that there is a certain freedom that comes with age. It's the freedom to look back and have an "aha" moment when I am reminded of how the Lord has blessed me and kept me over all the years I have known Him. The remembrance of past privileges overwhelms me still. But with age also comes the freedom to look ahead and anticipate other blessings. I'm a year closer to eternity and that's wonderful, but before I get there I can look forward to freedom 65 (I missed "Freedom 55") and the possibility of doing some of the things that I don't have the time as a "working woman" to do now.
Perhaps I'm still a bit naive—astounding at this stage of my life—but I think the best is yet to come. I don't know what it will look like but I believe that on this side of heaven there are still mountains to climb, experiences to savour, a less hectic pace to enjoy, and maybe even some books to write. Aging doesn't signal the end of the road; it marks a different road. And the best thing about it is that, thanks to Christ, all the roads, whatever they end up looking like, will lead home.