Staff meetings at Richmond’s First Baptist Church take place at 9:30 Tuesday mornings. Never having been a big fan of them, I decided the best way to spend my first Tuesday morning of retirement was by taking a long hike. So this morning, rather than sitting at a big table in a windowless room, I enjoyed the scenery along the James River.
As I began my hike, I prayed thanksgiving to God for His immeasurable blessings: for the beautiful world He created, for good health to be able to enjoy this morning’s activity, for the extraordinary 46 years I’d been able to ply my trade in broadcasting and communication, the 33+ years I was able to serve in His church… the last 20 of them at FBC Richmond, and for the promise and challenges that are ahead as we launch Belltower Pictures and produce our first feature film.
Then I began to think about my friends and former colleagues sitting around the staff meeting table at that very hour. And the feeling that swept through my mind was not at all what I expected.
I had eagerly anticipated this moment: a Tuesday morning when I would be out in God’s creation, breathing the fresh air, and grinning with relief because I wasn’t sitting in a meeting. But the emotion I felt instead was deep gratitude for those folks with whom I’d shared so much of my life for the last 20 years. And just a touch of sadness that I would no longer be a part of that family.
If I could have immediately transported from the trail to the conference room, I would have done so… but just for a moment. Long enough to encourage my dear friends to cherish every minute of their time at that table. Because those precious times cannot be re-lived.
As I returned my focus to the trail and my long-anticipated hike, I once again gave thanks to God for the opportunities He’d provided me in the past. My pace quickened as I thought about all that is to come… a new chapter and an exciting new adventure.
And I thought of what Dr. Seuss once said…
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”