After the senior citizen pot-luck meal and meeting, Elliot skipped down the church steps. He maneuvered the last two with one stride and continued his long and brisk gait as he glided the four blocks to his house.
His mind kept pace with his strides as he reviewed the evening. The potluck supper was a typical potluck supper, which neither satisfied nor left him wanting. But hey, it kept him out of his kitchen and another version of leftovers out of his frig.
Regardless, twas the meeting that whetted his whirling mind and well-ordered steps.
Elliot separated from his 8 to 5 lifestyle over a year ago, but retirement bored him. Having the independence of a wolf in the wild, he’d always scavenged out a lifestyle for himself since his divorce, now twenty-some years of history.
When he retired, he planned to restock his activity shelf with different activities. But, that hadn’t come to fruition, and the shelf rivaled Mother Hubbard’s cupboard.
He’d thought about a part-time job, but decided he didn’t retire in order to go to work. Being a night creature didn’t fit his social registry, so he became accomplished at surfing the web. That, along with too much television, ordering too many movies, took up too much of his time.
He tired of being the only person around intelligent enough to carry on a conversation with him. But he had no idea what else to do.
Still, something Pastor Rob said at the meeting elicited excitement down deep alongside his emptiness. He told Pastor Rob he’d like to talk and asked when he was free the next morning.
Sitting in Pastor Rob’s study, Elliot said, “Last night you mentioned elders sitting at city gates to deliberate, to settle legal arguments, to mete out justice. I have the sitting part memorized. Tell me about the rest?”
Pastor Rob asked Elliot to grab a Bible from the bookshelf.
“God’s Word says many city gates offered more than an entrance or an exit. Elders congregated there and listened and poured their time mellowed knowledge into attentive ears.”
“Were they the first live Dear Abby columns?” said Elliot.
“That’s the general gist,” said Pastor Rob, “only I think it’s more like a blanket and a child. A citizen’s relationship with the elders represented safety and security.
‘Let’s read Genesis 34:20-24 for an example.
“Elders, you see, were older men who warranted respect. They earned respect because age sires survival instincts.
“The respect was such that an elder’s decision was absolute with no appeal.
“But,” Elliot said, “Today, in western society, age doesn’t necessarily warrant respect.”
“That’s true,” said Pastor Rob. “Nevertheless, like spurned lovers, some people out there seek someone, anyone, that has something inside them to give. The first task for someone like you is to take stock of yourself. Being rich or having an impressive resume is not necessary, just what’s inside you radiates worth to someone.
“In other words,” Elliot said. ” You’re saying God gave me the gift of myself to give to someone else. I’m not wrapped nor come with ribbons, but someplace, somewhere, within my reach, is an aching soul who yearns for me as I am.”
“You’re on the path to a gate, Rob. Ask and you’ll be given; look and you’ll find. Those are promises to find His will, which is to love your neighbor as yourself. If, so far, your retirement years are not what you’ve expected, or planned, try sharing you and what have in your heart.
“You know, Pastor Rob, maybe their in a rest home. Maybe it’s someone with a terminal illness. Maybe it’s a lonely child at the playground. Maybe it’s the person across the lunch table when I eat at the Senior Center. Maybe it’s someone in jail.
“Someone out “there,” though, wherever “there” is, needs what I am. When I find that person, two people will experience healing.
“Makes sense to me,” said Pastor Rob.
“Now, maybe I can fill my activity shelf.”
“You’re activity shelf?”
“Pastor Rob, it’s a long story.”
All scripture is from the NASB version of the Holy Bible