Are You Simply Living in the Waiting Room? By Bill Storie
I remember many years ago when I still lived at home, a conversation in my house between my mother and a close friend. Mum asked her how an acquaintance was doing.
“Oh well, she’s retired now. Y’know, living in God’s waiting room."
I asked my mum what that meant after her friend went home and was told that the other lady was sitting at home, doing nothing, probably not in good health and certainly not having much money. “So, she’s just waiting to die.”
That really hit me hard. I’d obviously never heard the expression before, and once I knew what it meant I was glad I hadn’t heard it before. It may have been the first time I’d even been exposed to the “D” word. It certainly wasn’t a word we used in our house – at least not while I was in the room.
Yet, even back then, when I was maybe seven, it had a deep impact on me. I had never given any thought to the departure part of life. Of course not, I was only seven after all. But it troubled me for several days that there was a phase of life, albeit way out in the distance for me, where there was nothing else to do but to wait until the “call” came. How depressing would that be. It gave me the shivers.
As a side note, I’ve often wondered if the creation of Olderhood was in any way related to that event decades ago. Maybe it had been submerged deep in my psyche and only crept back out once I had retired myself. I’m not qualified to make that statement but it does make me wonder.
The retirement phase of life - or as we call it, The Third Journey – has changed so much since back in those days. Health and welfare issues have improved. Longevity is now a word we hear regularly. We hear of people leaving their day job and embarking on brand-new adventures. Thoughts of living a couple of years, for most people, is not considered. They’re in it for the long haul.
Try asking them what life in God’s waiting room is like and they’ll chew you to bits!
I admire and respect all of our Olderhood Family – in our over 20 countries around the world. I admire them for many reasons but there is one reason which stands out … their desire to stay in touch, communicate and above all else, keep learning. The mere fact that they are online and electronically connected is in itself more than adequate proof that they are living an active life.
If you are reading this - Don’t kid yourself that you are alone and unwanted. You are part of THIS Family and you are respected and cherished.
Whether you do volunteer work in the community or through your church, or whether you look after family members, young or old, you are doing so because you choose to do so. You have decided to keep active both physically or mentally. Good for you.
Your retirement life is not an end of being involved, but rather it is an opportunity to be involved in other things. As we say, retirement is not a destination but a journey.
So, the next time someone mentions God’s waiting room, just say, “Yes, I know it well. I go there 2 days a week to vacuum and re-arrange the magazines. I don’t hang around. One day maybe, but not now.”
By Bill Storie