I retired from 45 years in the ministry January 1 of this year. This was three days after my 64th birthday and two days after my 85-year-old father died of prostate cancer. On that same day our house sold. “Retirement” for us began in total chaos.
That time is a blur as I think back on it nearly nine months later. Fresh grief, rapid and profound change, long days and short nights… it all runs together in my memory. We last saw Virginia—our home for almost seven years—in our rearview mirror late in the day on Friday, February 2, as we crossed into Tennessee on southbound I-81. Winter still held sway then, even in the Deep South. But winter became spring, spring shifted into summer, and now it is autumn—and we are still homeless.
During the intervening months we have bounced around from relative to relative, trying not to wear out our welcome at any one place. It has been a weird existence. I have described it as life on pause.
Most of the time has been spent at the Huntsville, Alabama home of Joyce’s twin sister, Janice, and her husband, Tom. Tom is a self-taught master woodworker and furniture builder. So while we’ve been there Tom and I have built new furniture and cabinets to grace that new house. With so much new oak furniture, an old friend of mine has taken to calling our house “Oak Manor.”
Finally, we can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Next week I will drive a U-Haul truck from Alabama to Missouri loaded with the cabinets and some of the furniture. Once the cabinets and countertops are installed the final details of the construction should go quickly. We should be moved in time to see the sugar maple forest on the north side of the house in all of its autumnal glory.
I have been asked how I like retirement. Maybe in a few months I will have an answer. But first I have to hit the “Resume” button.