Memories can be your lifeline
Letting go of the "workplace" and embracing the life of retirement can be fraught with some intense emotional angst, at least initially. We will have to GRIEVE the loss of position, the loss of influence, appreciation, and the loss of involvement in many activities to which we have become accustomed.
Needless to say, the grieving process was probably not a part of our academic or Franciscan formation training, so we need to learn how to grieve. It’s an important course of study not only for our personal well-being, but also for our ongoing service to our brothers. Everyone suffers losses, and everyone needs a grieving brother-companion with whom to understand and accept these losses. Recovery is not only a condition for those with certain addictions; it is a condition of life for all of us as we come to accept ourselves for who we are and where we now exist and continue our search for peace, fulfillment and happiness.
Part of the grieving process is REMEMBERING and being GRATEFUL for what we have been privileged to experience and for the people we have been privileged to meet and come to know. When it seems we have many losses in our lives, we may find that what we have lost is still only a memory away. It might be helpful for us senior friars to journal our joys and not just count our losses. I might suggest that those of us with less rigid work schedules might begin to write a journal of our life, from early in our childhood to where we are now.
Our life story could certainly show us how God has marvelously worked in our lives and how our losses, great or small, have in due time become blessings for us. We will find these written pages to be a lifeline of God’s goodness to us.
– Dennet Jung, OFM
for The Senior Friars Committee