Autumn: My favorite time of the year and of life

The title of this piece came from my buddy Jim Graham of Atlanta in a recent email.  We’re close to the same age and appreciate so many of the same things–our Lord, our families, our country, our friends, and retirement living. We both love stimulating conversation, to spend an evening with a good book, to take a walk in the park as the sun is setting, and to listen to a good symphony or the harmony of the Everly Brothers.

Jim and I are both enjoying our Autumns.

Everyone knows about autumn as a time of the year.  And who doesn’t love that?

Many people agree with Jim and me that autumn is also the best time of life.  Consider some ways in which these days–Jim and I are in our early to mid 70s, just spring chickens!–are the very best….

1) We don’t have to go to work.  (I am well aware that many seniors do have to work because of a thousand factors, and my heart goes out to them. But most people our ages are fully retired, and if they work, it’s only to do what they love.)

And yes, I am working. I preach every opportunity I get, blog every day, sketch at events to which I’m invited, do a cartoon each weekday for the Baptist Press, and such.  But these are labors of pure love.

2) We get to know our grandchildren and spend time with them. (In preaching for “Senior Adult Sundays,” I congratulate those who are “old”–however they define it–because as a veteran pastor, I’ve laid to rest so many who would have given all they own to see their children grown and to hold their grandchildren on their lap.  Many of us have been privileged to do this.)

This afternoon, I met the school bus where my teenage granddaughter Darilyn was disembarking and we drove to a shopping center and spent an hour doing grandpa/granddaughter things.  There is nothing sweeter.

3) We can do basically anything we want to do. (Within reason, smiley-face goes here. I want to play the piano or a guitar, but don’t think that’s going to happen. But if I want to grow roses, I can. If I want to spend the day fishing, what’s stopping me? If I want to assist my wife and load up the car and drive to North Carolina to visit grandchildren, then, that’s what we do. In fact, it’s what we are doing right this minute.)

4) Thankfully, we still have our health.  (Jim and I do. Again, so many seniors do not, and my heart goes out to them.  I’ve had a bout with cancer but that’s in the past and these days I’m walking several miles a day and do not have  a pain in my body. So blessed.  I also know that as the years pile up, health issues become more commonplace. But enjoying it while I can.)

5) We get to see the long-range effect of work we assisted in years ago.  For instance, across the river from my house is West St. Charles Baptist Church in Boutte, Louisiana. Almost fifty years ago, as a seminary student, I pastored a small Baptist church down the highway a couple of miles away and we often talked of relocating toward the center of the population. A subsequent pastor led the church to do that.  Now, I can watch it minister in the place where we dreamed of moving.)

6) We have friends all over the country from churches we pastored, minister friends alongside whom we served, former members who have scattered everywhere.  It’s almost impossible to go anywhere without there being someone there we know.  (That sure comes in handy when we want to go to Atlanta–where Joel and Wilma live–or Washington, D.C.–where Chet and Eva Lee live.  You get the idea.)

7) We can actually see some small ways in which we have touched the world for Jesus.  (A friend whom I taught in Sunday School in the early 1970s has served several decades with his family as missionaries in Brazil and Italy.  Some whom I baptized have preached the gospel for a long time in several states. And church members who were children in my churches literally cover the globe now.)

And of course, with a blog, you can type something this morning and an hour later have emails from pastors all over the world who read it and were blessed. This is such a wonderful time to be alive and serving God.

8) In some ways, each of our lives spans a century or more.  For instance, my grandparents were born in the 1880s and 1890s.  When I was growing up in the 1940s, all  the old people I knew had been born in the 19th century.  These days, I am privileged to be living in the second decade of the 21st century.  My grandchildren may well live to the end of this century.  Therefore, there are ways in which I have touched and been touched by over two centuries, and how amazing is that.

9) We get the chance to demonstrate faith in our latter years to those coming behind us.  In 1982, I watched my grandmother die. She did it with such a confidence and spirit of expectation. I want to do that.  I smile at the last words of the Mexican bandit, Pancho Villa, who is reported to have said, “Tell them I said something!”  One of my hopes is that as I transition from this world to the next, the Spirit of God would be strong within me and giving assurance to all who love me that “Grandpa is doing just fine.”  Dying grace, it’s called.

10) Finally, Jim and I can see the finish line is nearer than it has ever been before.  But as with any other race we run, the last hundred yards may be the toughest but on the other side is victory and a celebration. And we cannot wait for that!

“Lord, thank you for all the seasons of life, but particularly for this most wonderful one of all. I do love Autumn!”


One thought on “Autumn: My favorite time of the year and of life

  1. Love this. I have a devotion I give about this and how the Lord can use us in each season. Autumn is a great season! I agree!

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