Posted tagged ‘progressive lens’

Redefining My Retirement Focus

March 5, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                        March 4, 2017


    Every May I travel down the street to see my optometrist, Dr. Bettner. We chit-chat for a few moments and then he checks my eyes. I’ve worn eyeglasses since I was in fourth grade. My teacher, Mrs. Riley, had noticed my squinting in the classroom trying to figure out what was written on the chalkboard. She passed along the info to my parents who made an appointment with an optometrist in Marietta, Ohio. They discovered I was as blind as a bat, and have been ever since!

Dr. Bettner checks out my vision each year to see if it has changed at all. A few years ago I went to progressive trifocals. Now he looks for things like cataracts and other unwanted situations. Mainly he looks to see if I need a lens adjustment to sharpen my focus.

Fourteen months ago I retired from full-time ministry after almost 37 years.  A number of people thought I’d sit in my recliner watching curling competitions on ESPN all day with a bowl of potato chips and a Pepsi in front of me. Although I like chips and a cold Pepsi from time to time I seldom sit in front of the TV with them. No…retirement has been similar to a Dr. Bettner eye exam. As I’ve entered into it my focus has gradually been fine-tuned to where my time is most productive and meaningful.

Last week I took officiating high school basketball games off the table after sixteen years. Substitute teaching has been put on the table, especially middle school substitute teaching. I’ve discovered the riches of the public library. It has become my second writing spot, next to my Starbucks stool! I enjoy coaching and influencing young people, and now coach three middle school teams while volunteering as an assistant coach with two other teams.

Carol and I are more available for our kids and grandkids. Granddad doesn’t have a church meeting to rush off to, and, beginning next basketball season, will not have a game to take him away for the evening.

My focus has become sharper even though a typical week is not nearly as structured and planned. What I’ve found, for me at least, is that retirement has been a time of defining who I am. For 37 years most of the people I associated with defined me as a pastor, which I was, but the other ingredients in my personal recipe were undiscovered. That hint of creativity went undetected. The pinch of humor was unknown. Like my fourth grade squinting, my focus was fuzzy. The lens of retirement has been a time of clarity.

Some people ask me, somewhat accusatory, “So you aren’t a pastor anymore?” And I respond, “Oh, yes! I’m still a pastor! I just don’t get paid for being one anymore!” People still seek me out for advice, counseling with problems, and prayer.

If God desires I have thirty percent of my life still ahead of me. My challenge and opportunity is to finish the journey with a clear focus instead of a foggy idea!

Saying Goodbye to The Fifties

April 30, 2014

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                     April 30, 2014


                                  “Saying Goodbye to the Fifties”


    In five days I will exit “The Fifties”, and change the first digit in my age to a six. I began the journey of my last week of this part of my life by going to the DMV and getting a new driver’s license. I fear, however that when the license arrives next week I will look like a dork in my new license picture…whatever a dork looks like! I should have worn a leisure suit to compliment my dazed and confused look.

I began the “fifties” with three children semi-living at home. Two of the three were either in college or that period when they are trying to “find themselves.” I exit the “fifties” with an empty nest. We don’t even have a cat anymore. She got tired of the same old food every day and had a stroke.

Two of our children are now married, and two grandkids have joined the family picture and brought new definition to the word “energetic.”

Ten years ago I was training for my first Pike’s Peak Ascent, a 13.2 mile race that Carol fondly referred to as “The Death Run.” It began in downtown Manitou Springs and took the crazed runners to the finish line on the top of Pike’s Peak. Ten years later I exit the “Fifties” with knees that talk to me each day in low moans and groans, and a back that echoes “amens” from behind. A flight of stairs now seems more daunting than a “14er” did ten years ago.

I began the “fifties” frequenting Chinese buffets around town. I exit the “fifties” as a frequenter of low-fat yogurt mixed with fruit. Chinese buffets now seem scary!

I began the “fifties with glasses. I exit with progressives. They make me sound like a liberal in my eyesight.

I began the “fifties” with one prescription for heartburn. Now a shoebox holds all of my prescriptions.

Ten years ago I’d stay up and watch “The Rockford Files” with James Garner after the late night news went off. Now bedtime comes before the late news comes on. It seems like a reward for making it through another day.

I began the “fifties” with both of my parents alive, plus my father-in-law. I exit this time with just my dad still living on this side of Glory.

The “fifties” were good. The “sixties”, I pray, are even better.

Unfortunately I’m stuck either way with my dorky looking driver’s license picture for the next ten years!