Thursday, May 25, 2017

In Praise of "Loafing" -- and Retirement

As I read this morning's featured poem on "The Writer's Almanac," it seemed a good way to announce my upcoming retirement and time for more"loafing."

by Raymond Carver

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I looked into the room a moment ago,
and this is what I saw —
my chair in its place by the window,
the book turned facedown on the table.
And on the sill, the cigarette
left burning in its ashtray.
Malingerer! my uncle yelled at me
so long ago. He was right.
I’ve set aside time today,
same as every day,
for doing nothing at all.

"Loafing" by Raymond Carver from All of Us. © Knopf, 1998.  (buy now)

Despite my dad's joking that I wasn't afraid of hard work -- "Brent can watch me do it all day" -- since I began working at Sears in June 1970, I've been pretty much working full time ever since. That will end on October 31 when I retire from my present position at Friends General Conference.

I have been blessed, for the most part, with worthy work, including my current position at FGC; years at United Ways in Henry, Franklin, Jennings, and Scott counties; at the Indianapolis Center for Congregations; pastoring at Jericho Friends, Friends Memorial, and 1st United Methodist in Hillsboro, Ohio; teaching at Earlham School of Religion; being on Central Ohio Young Life staff, and much more (a truly itinerant -- or easily bored, perhaps -- minister).

But over the past year it's become clear to me that it's now time to step away from full-time employment. Time to putz around the farm, spend time with my family and friends, pray with my camera, write a bit more, read a lot more, and to "set aside time today,/ same as every day,/ for doing nothing at all." And to explore what God has in store for this next chapter in my life -- maybe leading writing, photography, or other spiritual retreats here at the farm. Or maybe "doing nothing at all." Whichever, whatever -- received in gratitude.


quakerdoc said...

Hurry up and loaf!

Robin M. said...

Oh my. You have been a blessing to so many people. Come for dinner sometime before you retire!

Mike O'Rourek said...

I retired March 31 of this year. So far it has been wonderful. I have slowed my life down by one notch, it allows me to savor the moment instead of worrying about what is next. I hope you enjoy retirement as much as I am.

Regina Gibson said...

I was playing a game the other day and a little saying popped up,it said something like this:I don't know why they say nothing is impossible because I do nothing every day! I am currently reading Sacred Compass and I believe my sacred compass led me to this book. I relate to a lot and feel my blog is a lot like what you describe so I felt compelled to let you know and maybe you might look at my writings sometime. Thank you for your time,

Brent Bill said...

Thanks, Regina, for the kind words. I hope you enjoy Sacred Compass!