The Unexpected Void of Retirement
|Photo courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
It began with a friend posting a picture of a calla lily on Facebook. Then, another friend posted a picture of a national park an hour’s drive from my hometown with two rainbows arched across the stormy sky.
It continued with a silly game that pulled random scripture verses which supposedly match your profile. My verse was Psalm 91: 14: “Because he hoped in me I will deliver him: I will protect him because he hath known my name.”
Then the next morning Psalm 27 was listed in my devotions.
So, what exactly does all this mean?
There is one aspect of retirement I did not expect: loneliness. Living in a new area, hundreds of miles from family and friends, there is little opportunity for socializing. Other than a few phone calls here and there from family, all human contact outside of my husband is none existent. It’s also been difficult to find a church home, so even that form of human contact has not been there either.
Science declares nature will not tolerate a void. Something, good or bad, will rush in to fill the space. In my case, every misdeed, every social fopaux, every ill spoken word has rolled into that gap. I have been in a vat of self-torment for several weeks. It has ebbed and flowed, giving me a few hours of peace, usually in the daytime when I have distractions to keep it at bay. Then night comes.
And, God stepped in.
First, the calla lily is a reminder of Luke 12:27-31: “Consider the lilies, how grow: they labor not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these. Now if God clothe in this manner the grass that is today in the field and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more you, O Ye of little faith? For all these things do the nations of the world seek. But your Father knows that you have need of these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
The rainbow represents health, miraculous healing of past illness, every one preceded by a rainbow.
Psalm 91 reminds me that the just are secure under the protection of God from all evil, even one’s self.
And then, of course. Psalm 27: 1, 4, 13-14“The Lord is my light and my salvation of whom shall I fear? The Lord is the protector of my life: of whom shall I be afraid? One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. That I may see the delight of the Lord, and may visit his temple. I believe to see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living. Expect the Lord, do manfully, and let thy heart take courage, and wait thou for the Lord.”
Experts say when you are feeling lonely the best cure is to reach out to others. I had planned to volunteer in some way after retirement, but have yet to figure out how. Last Sunday I attended a new church that I think might become my new church home. They offer a senior’s bible study on Wednesday mornings. I feel drawn to sign up, a first step in reaching out.
I believe these divine coincidences these last twelve hours are Gods’ way of not only reminding me of his promises, but also indicating I am going in the right direction and it’s time to cast off this cloak of fear and move forward. Visiting a new church, alone, takes a lot of courage. Joining a new bible study not knowing a single soul, takes even more courage.
However, these coincidences seem far too personal to be just random. I think God is telling me to go for it and fill that black void with light.