Dogwood tree in the fall

As I walked the dogs on the first morning of fall, I felt a cool breeze on my cheek. When I looked up, I saw the first autumn leaves swirling in the air. 

This year as I clean up the squash vines and pick the last tomatoes, I’m so aware of the change of seasons in my life. 

For 35 years, my focus has been The Upper Room at 1908 Grand Avenue in Nashville, Tennessee. This ministry and the people who embody it have been an important part of my formation, shaping me into the person I have become. And I am so very grateful. 

On the afternoon of November 30th, we will celebrate my retirement from The Upper Room with a service and reception. [I’ll let you know soon how you can join me online for the celebration.]

I am beginning to wonder, Who will I be when I am no longer a staff person of The Upper Room? What will it be like to wake up on a Monday morning and not go to work? How will I adjust to this new schedule (or lack of schedule)?

I am in the fall of life. Like the plants and trees here in Tennessee, some facets of my life are fading and dying, creating space for the new things that the Holy One will be doing in me. I trust that I’ll find the way gracefully, as so many of you have already done.

I ask your prayers for this transition – both for me and for the staff of The Upper Room. And I’d love to hear from you if you have any tips on entering into the season of retirement.

Blessings and love,

14 thoughts on “Seasons”

  1. I retired at age 53 to be with my husband who had cancer. I started volunteering to rock babies at a local children’s hospital until he became very ill and I took a break from that. After he died, I returned to the babies and found several other volunteer roles which have been very fulfilling – in fact more so than my paying job, but I appreciate I had a good one as did my husband.

    So my advice is to do what you love and hopefully combine that with roles that serve God and bring you fulfillment!


    1. First, I’m so sorry about the loss of your husband.

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience. What a wonderful idea. I will indeed follow your advice to “do what you love.”

      Blessings on you.

  2. Beth What an apt wonderful description this time in your life…and of those who are entering or already into the “fall of life” The questions you ask are good ones…especially “who will I be”. I am 3 yrs into retirement and have struggled with that question this year. Even if I had contemplated it before, I don’t think I could have appreciated the impact that issue would have in this phase of life. So what did I do to plan for retirement? I planned for volunteer activities, which I do, and write out a weekly schedule and “to-do” list. I have done a part-time gig at a LTC facility, which I enjoyed to my surprise. I keep an eye and ear open for opportunities to stretch myself. Interestingly, my hobby of paper crafting is always on the back burner which frustrates me. Perhaps this “fall of life” has such a myriad of thoughts and emotions because in spite of being fall we are changing and growing. I hope I am. I wish you the best. I hodge you will continue to share your writings and pictures. God Bless You!

    1. Hi, Deb. Thank you for these thoughts. I’m a person who needs a routine, so I really like your suggestion of keeping a weekly schedule. I haven’t thought much, yet, about volunteer opportunities. (I’ll do some thinking about that!) I am looking forward to having more time for creativity pursuits, so I will continue sharing.

      Blessings on you and your “fall of life.”

  3. I am 40 and am not retired but suffered a major illness in my late 20s and had to stop working and went on disability. I had to learn at a young age to not get my identity from my job or what I do or how much I accomplish. It’s a process that sometimes takes you two steps back and one ahead. One day at a time.

    It seems you enjoy writing and holding prayer services. Maybe you can start your own youtube channel and expand your blog? If you aren’t already, maybe get certified in Spiritual Direction? Or maybe you can be the directee for now. Just a few ideas.

    Good luck and sending prayers your way…


    1. Hi Stephen, what an important message – to not get our identities from our jobs or accomplishments. So – yes – one day at a time. I’m grateful for you taking the time to read and comment. Blessings.

  4. Blessings to you on this new great adventure. I was retired due to Covid and at first I was rather worried about me. But with God’s help I have found new avenue and reconnected with old friends and I am pleased that my life is taking a new exciting path. I know you will be too, God’s got a plan for your life, one step at a time.

  5. Blessings to you in your transition to retirement, Beth. May God light the way on your new journey.

    I have enjoyed very much your editorials and writings over the years. You have blest my journey. I will miss you.

    In 2016 I retired from my job as a nursing faculty professor. I decided I wanted to be away from my home near the college when school started the following fall. For 3.5 months that fall I was a live-in volunteer at Mount St. Scholastica, a Benedictine monastery in Atchison, KS. That was the most wonderful way to begin my retirement! When I returned home in December, my role at the college seemed pretty far in the past. I was ready to move on to new things. I have been most grateful that I could begin retirement doing something so different from my usual routine.

    Again, blessings to you. There is life in retirement!!

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