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Retirement home (Israel, 2010)

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A week ago yesterday, I had the privilege of being the speaker at a Vespers service in a retirement village. Never having done this before, I still readily accepted the invitation. I’m happy I did.

You see retirement homes hold an attraction for me. I conducted my doctoral research in one, spending a summer–it felt as though I had moved in–conducting indepth interviews with forty of the residents on the topic of leisure. I’ve often said that if you have to do a major research project for a degree, I had the best possible experience. Except maybe when a resident or two would ask if I, at age 48, was a new resident.

I also got comfortable in retirement homes because my folks did the continuum of care thing–starting out in independent living, moving when needed to assisted living, and then moving down the hall to the nursing home section. Living out of town, I made a point of driving up several times a year to visit.

I liked to go with them to their Sunday afternoon Vespers service. My dad would hold the door open for people with canes, and my mother would play the organ (well into her 90s). The other folks would smile at me and say hello. They were always happy to see younger folks or to see someone’s child visit.

So last week, I tied some of my experiences together and spoke at the Vespers service on a topic brought up by one of my research participants: “God’s Time”. One man had pointed out, way back in 1990, that the leisure time we have in retirement is not really our own, it’s God’s time.  He’d added that “…I was brought up that way that whatever you do, do everything to the honor and glory of God.” Work time, leisure time, whatever.

I’m sure that man is in heaven now, and I felt blessed to pass his message on to the appreciative folks at this Vespers service. Of course, the message is not just his. First Corinthians 10:31. Check it out.