Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Life Changes

Retirement, like death, is one of those things that happen only to other people; but as of May 26th, it has happened to me.  I have taken a year of family leave in order to provide care to my mother, and probably won’t return to the teaching career I’ve loved.  As our family’s needs grow and change, home on the farm is where I need to be; however, I’m having a little bit of trouble adapting.  I had thought the role of “teacher” would define my identity, if not until the day I die, well then at least for another ten years or so. 

When I’m preparing meals I often slip a familiar movie into the disc drive of the computer that sits on my kitchen desk.  The day after my retirement party, my selection was one that many women who read this will find familiar, as will many men since they’ve probably seen it under duress.   It was “You’ve Got Mail” with Meg Ryan (yes, guys, it is a chick flick;  but hey, Tom Hanks co-stars...).  I was peeling potatoes when I heard Jean Stapleton's character say, "You are being very brave. You are daring to imagine that you could have some other life."

It really has taken a fair amount of bravery for me to walk away from the career that I’ve loved.  The passion to help little ones become successful readers gave my life shape and meaning; in short, I felt useful.  I’ve been a teacher since 1978.  It truly is a challenge to imagine that I could have some other life. 

A dear friend wrote these words to me in her own hand, “Your teaching days are not over, but perhaps in the capacity with which you have become accustomed, they are.  God dreams bigger than we can ever dream, and He has plans for you…I feel great peace as I think of the coming years for you.  There will be new endeavors and new opportunities to teach and to learn.” 

Life is full of transitions, and most of us don’t like this fact.  We would prefer to attain a place of comfort and safety and clutch it to our hearts to keep, but we are not allowed to do so; sometimes there has to be an ending before there can be a new beginning.  As another close friend said to me, “A chapter completed does not mean the story is ended.”   
Here’s to new beginnings!  


  1. Teachers always teach. The classroom just changes. Kind of like preachers...you can take them out of the pulpit but they will still find a way to share the things God teaches them.

    May God show you the way in your new daily routine.

  2. God bless you in your endeavors--I believe that the teacher in you is not yet finished. You may not go into a school each day, but your words here fill me with knowledge and hope. You are still needed--I find so much comfort in what you write, as I am sure that so many others must also enjoy. Thank you, Linda.
    Love and blessing--Jill

  3. Heartfelt thanks, Becky and Jill. I'm humbled and grateful for your encouragement today.

  4. Linda,

    I retired at age 62 from teaching before I knew my husband was getting Alzheimer's. Teaching was not what it was cracked up to be and that last year my students were horrible as you read in my book.

    As the days go on new routines, habits and joy will come your way. We serve a God who makes that happen. We long to hear him say, one day, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

    As you have time, please follow my blog now. Love to read your comments. We have a whole blogging support group out there.

    Hugs to you and your mom,

  5. I hear you....i walked away from my job a year ago. It was the right thing to do but it felt terrible. So many emotions, ups and downs. But I intentionally had to focus on what God wanted for me in this season. (still working on that!)

    Blessings to you!

  6. You will always be a teacher. You can now help teach caregivers how to care for there love ones. Good luck and Good bless.