I was reading in a book about sacrifice, and it struck me that it is one of the things missing in the retired life. We have sacrificed for our careers, our children, our spouses, and our communities over our lifetime. We often sacrificed for the greater good. It was a good thing, and willingness to sacrifice for others is what makes the world turn a little brighter.
The Good Life
When we retire, we begin to think more about our own lives and what we want to accomplish before we die. We may want to travel, do some mission work, spend more time with family or check some dreams off our bucket list. We have the time, and hopefully, we have saved some money to do some of the things we want, but there is no pressure to get it done, and there is no one pushing us to do any of it. Retirement is our time.
Something is missing. Some factor in our life when we were young that made us feel vital needed and purposeful is gone. Could it be the aspect the author was talking about in my book? Is it that there is no sacrifice?
We have lots of time even if we have hobbies or some chores. So using some of the time to be with the kids and grandkids is a pleasure. My brother asked me the other day if I wanted to meet him in Van Couver to go on an Alaska Cruise. Ok, so maybe I have to sacrifice a trip somewhere else to do this one, but it is a choice, not much of a sacrifice. I knit for a couple of charities, and sometimes it feels a little like sacrifice, but not painfully so by any means. You may have some service clubs or hobbies you share too.
The Haunting Question
What makes you want to get up in the morning? Has it come down to appearing perfect in our maturity? Are we driven by needing to look successful or like we live in a Hallmark movie? Do we have a desire to give of ourselves in a sacrificial way? To give sacrificially with our money while on a fixed income seems scary and maybe foolish. We don’t have the stamina, eyesight or dexterity as when we were young. What is it we can offer in our old age (physically mature, but we still have it, right?) In generations past the elderly provided wisdom. The age of technology has left us a bit behind. We sometimes have to turn to our grandchildren to give us the knowledge needed to work the latest gadgets and don’t get me started on how the credit and debit cards have changed and why can’t every machine be the same? The convenience of texting or emailing has replaced the simple sacrifice of choosing a card or stationary, writing a letter or note and going to the post office to mail it.
The secret to feeling excited about getting up in the morning and being vital and purposeful is found in what we love. What do you enjoy? What makes you come alive? Do that! I have discovered that I have time and energy to pray. I have fallen madly in love with God and spending time with God. Loving God has caused me to search for Him in the depths of my life. I cannot watch the news, be on social media, eat in a restaurant or talk to the family without seeing or hearing something or someone who needs prayer. And prayer can be a sacrifice. Aside from fasting which is a sacrifice, there are the hours of time necessary to cover every need in this nation or our family or our community and friends. But prayer, with our wisdom, (that no one wants to hear because we are old) is powerful. We have time, we have wisdom, and we have an Omnipotent God who is for us.
Praying together in a group makes a difference. There are national prayer groups that help us know how to pray and give us sample prayers to pray until we feel more comfortable praying from our hearts. Churches have prayer groups; ministries have prayer groups, missionaries always need prayer. Together we can make a difference. Are you ready? Will you sacrifice sleep or a TV show or other time filler to pray? Will you look on the internet or have your grandchild help you find prayer groups you can join? Let’s make a difference for the greater good!