31 Days of Aging Gracefully: Day 21 — Stepping Up


This picture is a gratuitous shot, taken the same morning as yesterday’s series of three at the end of the post. It has no particular connection to today’s theme, but I like to use the panorama feature of my iPhone when I’m standing in that vacant lot and this seemed like a good post to put this one in. And on today’s walk — be still, my heart! — there was a ‘for sale’ sign on that lot. Sob.

In these years of retirement from active pastoral ministry, I’m finding that I am stepping up to do some things that I couldn’t do as easily when I was employed and working on a church staff. And I’m having fun doing them, too. Herewith, a short list:

I am by NO means a professional photographer, but I have a fairly good eye and a moderately cooperative camera. So when I’m asked to take pictures of church activities that are then used in slide shows on Sunday mornings, I always say yes. If I’m in town and going to the event anyhow, why not?

I’m also serving on the nominating committee this year — short-term job, fairly easy. Why not?

We are doing more childcare for our local grandkids — their parents both work, we live nearby, we love those kids and they seem to like being with us, so again — why not?

If I get a call or a note from someone I’ve met online and they want to pursue the possibility of entering into direction with me, I always say, “yes.” I enjoy this work I do and online friends generally seem to be good candidates for a monthly skype session. Why not give it a try? If it works, great. If not, we’re still online friends, right?

I am available for my mom weekly for lunch, sometimes more than once, and to take her to the doctor/dentist or shop for her sundries. I’m here, nearby, she needs some help from me, so . . .yeah, I’ll own that. Why not?

If I’m asked to lead in prayer, read scripture, stay after the service and pray for others — and I am going to be in town, I will always say yes. Why not?

If I don’t have a good answer to that recurrent question ‘why not?’ —  I try to say ‘yes.’ This is a season for stepping up in ways that are both familiar and new, and I’m glad to be able to do so.

What kinds of things does your life allow you to ask, ‘why not?’ about these days? Not every season has room for a positive answer to that query, and I am in no way trying to ‘guilt’ anyone into anything. But I also want to encourage you to ask that question honestly wherever you can. And by ‘honestly,’ I mean looking at your whole life — all your current commitments — your energy level, your health, your marriage, if you’re married, your family, if you have one. If there is space for a step-up, then by all means, take it. If there is not, say ‘no,’ without guilt and without worry. There will be someone else.

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  1. Now that teaching and being a pastor’s wife are behind me, I too am stepping up in different ways, yet they are similar to yours, Diana. Babysitting a granddaughter and seeking to be an online encourager are at the top of the list. Because retirement is a relatively new chapter in my life, I am looking to God for direction toward other ways to “step up.” Meanwhile, he’s given me a precious season to enjoy a less structured schedule, quality time with family, and the pleasure of writing. (P.S. I must go back and read the other posts on this valuable theme of aging gracefully. Steve and I have been out of town, and I took a hiatus from blogging. You should see my inbox!!)

  2. Yes, why not step up when we can? Since leaving teaching, I’ve done lots of this, especially when it comes to taking care of my oldest granddaughter while her mother worked and doing their laundry when they didn’t have a washer/dryer. There’s always something we can willingly and readily volunteer to do!
    Blessings, Diana!