So I finally approached the day that we all look forward to. Retirement. I submitted all the paperwork. I informed my employers of my decision. I shared the news with my family. Twenty eight years in the field of education. Eighteen years in the same district. My husband was ecstatic since I would be joining him in the retirement phase of our lives. My dad was encouraging, saying that this is the season of life that you give back to others. My daughter was apprehensive saying she would see it when she saw it happen. None of these reactions surprised me.
However, the most unexpected reactions were from my co-workers. Three co-workers that are near and dear to me were noticeably upset since I wouldn’t be there with them on a day to day basis. We have all leaned on one another and assisted each other through challenges and also celebrated the successes and good times. However, most of the news was met with either indifference, jealousy or even joy. My thoughts immediately turned selfishly inward. “I put a lot of years into this organization…who is going to replace me?” (inflated sense of self-worth) “I thought they would grovel on bended knees asking me to stay!” (inflated sense of self-worth) and finally….”I wonder what kind of whiz-bang celebration they are going to throw in my honor when I leave!” (inflated sense of self-worth)
You get the point. This was all about me, me, me! I had to pause and reflect on why I chose to dedicate my career to the field of education. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to be an advocate for those who couldn’t speak for themselves. I wanted to grow leaders in my teachers. I wanted to be consistent and fair to all students. I wanted the children to learn life lessons as well as skills to take with them throughout life. I accomplished those goals. I didn’t need another pat on the back. I shouldn’t require yet another accolade. My job has been to fulfill the scriptures as stated in I Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
The Bible doesn’t mention that you will be rewarded with a huge party, a standing ovation or a brass band. If I did my job well and faithfully served others then I pleased my Creator. That is good enough. In fact, that is the pinnacle of success. Maybe not as the world measures it , but as measured by Him Who sits on the throne. As a walked to my car for the final time, I glanced back with a grin on my face, a song in my heart and a huge sense of satisfied accomplishment. I truly believe that God was smiling with me. Now…let’s get to work.