“Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” Isaiah 51:11 KJV
I have a day job: I work for a company that supplies contract support to the FAA, and this job is more fun that I ever had in my actual 30-year FAA career. The reason it’s fun is because my role is now limited to what we fondly refer to as “production work”. Production work pretty much entails doing what I’m told to do and applying the technical expertise I obtained over many years to do it. Now some people might consider such a demotion insulting. Though I’m often asked for advice, I’m no longer privy to nor do I influence policy-making, politics, or personnel decisions. I’m not insulted in the least. I’m retired now, separated from the fray. Even though I hear about the ongoing shenanigans because I’m at work every day, I’m no more a participant than when I spent my mornings on the back patio drinking coffee.
I’m not unique. My buddies feel the same way. Truth is, we aren’t above kissing our green striped contractor badges when one of our beleaguered FAA colleagues is dealing with a particularly sticky wicket. One friend who retired last January told me recently he had enough Calvinism in him to be waiting for the other shoe to drop. Retirement simply seems too good to be true.
I’ve become an evangelist for retirement. To my friends and former colleagues who are still on the other side of that Great Divide, I say, “Just you wait. Maybe you enjoy your work now, as I did, but just you wait. It’s truly remarkable when that investment you are making pays off and you are completely and utterly free. It’s mahvelous, darling. Simply smashing!”
As my friend Craig alluded with his Calvinism remark, we’ve become too sophisticated to believe easily in the happily ever after of fairy tales. A Harvest House senior editor named Nick Harrison maintains a wonderfully encouraging website called The Magnificent Christian Life. The Christian Life truly is magnificent, and so very much more satisfying in every way than any other life. But it’s likely Mr. Harrison would be the first to tell you that as good as it is, it doesn’t hold a candle to what lies ahead in the Happily Ever After. I think it took my own retirement for me to really begin to believe treasures beyond our collective imagination await us (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).
Golden streets and pearly gates notwithstanding, I am really jazzed about seeing Mama and Daddy, Dadaw and Mamaw, Grandma and Papa. I have aunts and uncles I can’t wait to see. Cousins too, particularly one little girl named Helen, who was accidentally shot and killed when she was only five. She’s sleeping, waiting, and will be there, I’m quite sure. I had a cousin named Gracie and a friend named Estelle. It will be so good to see them again. Makes me want to cry, thinking of it. What a day it will be when I’m gathered to my people! There’s even a person who died in 1780-something and was buried in Williamsburg, Virginia, under a headstone that reads, “Here rests in hope.” I want to meet that Christian!
The Happily Ever After won’t be like it is here, all full of conflict and drama and quirks and such. Everyone will be as we should have been all along. We will be all that we can be. I think we will work the talents that lay dormant in us our all our earthly lives. Everyone will rejoice in the beauty of such a thing, and no one will feel jealous or threatened. We will have the bloom of our youth. Daddy couldn’t wait for that. He talked about it all the time. “I’ll be a young man again,” he said, smiling.
Does it get any better than that? Whatever our lifelong struggles have been, they will only be a memory. In perspective. Understood for what they were.
And we shall all live happily ever after in the light of the Lord (Revelation 22:5). In the meantime, go with God, and have fun storming the castle!
© Melissa Kay Simonds