The World Turned Upside Down

I preached my last sermon two months ago Two days later I walked across a stage, shook my bishop’s hand, and received a certificate stating that, after 45 years, I had entered the “retired relationship” as an ordained minister of the United Methodist Church.

Since then, these words of C. G. Jung keep running through my mind:

“Wholly unprepared, we embark upon the second half of life. . . . we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning; for what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie.

If the Law of Gravity suddenly changed and “up” became “down” and “down” was “up”, I could not be more confused about how to proceed with life. 

Here are some things that used to be important and what is important now: 

  •  It used to be important for me to be productive and now it is important to be present.   

  • It used to be important for me to improve and now it’s important for me to accept.

  • It used to be important to go fast and now it’s important to slow down.

  • It used to be important for me to learn and now it’s important to unlearn.

  • It used to be important to acquire and now it is important to let go.

  • It used to be important to work toward success and now it is important to come to terms with failure.  

  •  It used to be important to focus on quantity and now it is important to focus on quality.

  • It used to be important to keep up with news from the outside world and now it is important to listen to my soul.

  • It used to be important to acquire expertise and now it is important to bring a beginner’s mind to everything I do.  

I intend to write about these reversals – and more – in this blog.

I’m wondering what you experience? What is different now? What is upside down from the way things used to be?  Let me know, so we can share the wisdom that comes in the Second Half.

20 thoughts on “The World Turned Upside Down

  1. What a great idea, Roger. Thanks for putting into words the life challenges that we all have. I look forward to reading more. God bless you. Karla

  2. Roger I look forward to following this blog and having read it ha ha and having been retired for a year and a half now. I want to say that yes you unlearn some things but other things you learned I have to tell you that that is and has been a thrill for me look forward to hearing more from you

  3. You are one of those pastors I admire. You are progressive, not afraid to speak your mind, and
    Ready to fight for those
    that others ignore.
    I like what you wrote. But remember that lay people find many things to do in the Church and never retire.

    1. Bonnie,
      That is true about lay people never retiring from church. I’m trying to figure out how to retire from the formal role I have and still nurture my soul.

  4. Roger, I’m now 2 years + into retirement. What took me awhile was to let go of what I used to do. I wanted to be sure that my “legacy” at work was secure and in good hands. I came to realize that my “work” is done. I did my best, I made a difference while I was there.
    Now I still want to make a difference but in a totally different way. My life now is not driven by public service it’s now just service. Service to my marriage service to guide dog training service to me and my needs. How can I make a difference now?

  5. I have been retired from teaching for 18 years now! My second life has been wonderful, with never a regret. Life has become a mix of amazing events, rewarding experiences, and lots of days that just seem to drift by. It’s all been good. Unfortunately, with retirement comes aging, and none of us can predict what that will bring. Don’t wait to do what interests you the most. Do it NOW!

  6. Roger, I love your blog and agree with all of it…. But while we are busy unlearning, I just remembered hearing there is free tuition at college for those over 60! And time to do it!

  7. I have been retired 3 years but occasionally work prn. When I WANT to! As an occupational therapy assistant ,I was rewarded everyday ,and fulfilled. Now I fill these times with a new husband, a new home,lots of grandchildren and volunteering and serving through my new church- Strongsville UMC. It’s a wonderful life!

  8. From a lay person’s view: “Do all the good you can …………. For as long as ever you can.” J. Wesley Look forward to your “musings,” Roger.

  9. Roger, I, too, could not be more confused about how to proceed with life. I did not like working, but it filled my days and gave me structure. Now, poof, that’s all gone. So, I look for other structure that is sustainable. Maybe one task at a time is good for now, but time will tell. Trying to say yes to things that come my way. Look forward to seeing your blog. Jeff T.

  10. Great blog idea and great unlearnings! I’ll send it along to our friend John Brady who has a blog called Top Retirements.
    We think of you and Jacq often!❤️😍

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