Chappy’s corner “What’s next?”

Down in sunny Florida, Ole was sitting at the bar enjoying a cold beer when another fellow sat down and said, “Hi I’m Fred, I just retired from the furniture business and moved down here.” As he sipped his cold beer, Fred said, “I worked for twenty five years in the furniture business. I hardly could make it, but then the whole place went up in a fire, and I decided instead of rebuilding I would just take the insurance money and move down here and retire.  How about you? Are you retired?”  Ole replied, “I sure am, and my story is a lot like yours. I worked in the hardware business for twenty five years and then we had this big tornado storm in Minnesota and my business was gone just like that.  But instead of rebuilding the business, I took the insurance money and moved down here to retire.”  Fred sat there in silence for a moment and then asked, “Hey, Ole how did you start a tornado?”


If you have to think about that one for a bit, that’s okay.  As we get older we don’t always get the punch line, but if you read it over again, maybe you will get it.  A little hint “think arson?”


The reason I shared that story is because my military career is done.  After 27 ½ years, I am no longer in the National Guard.  I am officially retired from the military.  At my retirement ceremony many folks congratulated me and retirees told me I will enjoy the time off, but miss the people. They are right, but I’m still looking forward to some time off.  Since I have my ministry at the church I am still working full time but down the road that will end, and the question will be “what’s next?” 


Some folks have difficulty adjusting to not having a job. Statistically a large number of suicides are committed by elderly men.  One argument for this fact is that their life is wrapped around their job, but if they have no job, they feel worthless. They have no purpose, and depression sets in, and sadly some choose to commit suicide.


If one’s life is identified with one’s career, then retirement can be tough just as the loss of work can be tough.  But our work is only one role we have in life.  Other roles can include being a parent, a child, a spouse, a sibling, a friend, a neighbor, a church member, a team member and the list can go on and on. For me the best role is being a child of God and that didn’t happen by anything I did. It was totally by God’s amazing grace.  As the song states, “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me I was lost but now and found, was blind but now I see”   We are all sinners, but God still cares for each of us, and sent His Son to save us.  Jesus paid the price for my sin, so I can be a member of His kingdom.  St. Paul put it this way, “For God has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son” Colossians 1: 13


Being a child in God’s kingdom means I don’t need to worry if I have done enough to cover my mistakes, I am forgiven in Christ.  Being a child of God also means I don’t need to worry about the future.  I can make my plans, and since my wife recently retired, we do talk about our future plans. But we also know that things may change. What the future holds for us, I don’t know, but I do know who holds the future, and that one is our loving Lord and Savior. Our future is in God’s hands and knowing that makes me excited about “what’s next” in my life!


That’s just my thoughts from this SE corner of South Dakota!


God’s Peace in Christ


Chaplain David Gunderson (retired)

Yankton, South Dakota.