(In May 2009 – 4 months after my retirement – an earlier version of my early retirement story had been shared with a group of Family Spiritual Window friends at a family retreat.)
More than two and a half years after deciding to retire early in order to put to good use the gifts that God had given me, retelling my story now will not only add clarity and new insights, now that the emotions have subsided, but also answer the point blank question that so many people have asked me or have at least wondered aloud in their hearts: What do you do with so much time in your hand?
But why do I share to begin with? Do I share my story out of some self-serving motives? Is this urge in me to share my experience just a personal need for self-gratification or self-justification? It is no presumption on your part if you as a reader of this blog ask similar questions - they are questions I often ask God in my prayers and in examining my conscience. But time and time again, the reply that God gives me is this: “A king's secret it is prudent to keep, but the works of God are to be declared and made known” (Tobit 12:7). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lamp stand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt. 5:14-16).
O Jesus, Most Humble Servant of the Lord! If it pleases you, please grant me a humble heart and the ability to communicate through my writing - crude and inadequate as it is - the many marvelous works that you have done in me! Protect me, O Lord, against personal desire for vanity; and turn my life and my witness into a mirror that reflects not my personal brightness, of which I have none, but only your radiance just as your glory once radiated from your servant Moses’ face (cf. Exodus 34:29). And I ask for no further grace than for me to be burned by the light of your Passion and in burning be transformed (cf. Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth I, p. 315)!
In this 5-part series on my early retirement, I will discuss the following topics:
1. Why Share the Story Now?
2. How God Walked Me There
3. How It Happened
4. A Cliff Hanging Experience
5. What Do I Do on Retirement?
With two consecutive very busy months ahead – August and September – I have no idea how long it will take for me to complete this 5-part series. I will not be surprised if the last piece cannot be completed until October. But I am hopeful that parts 1, 2, and 3 can be published shortly since their drafts are more or less in place. I hope those who are so kind as to follow my blog would bear with me and stick around to read the complete series.