When I saw the sign on the trail that said, “Dismount and Proceed,”it made me realize that just because you can no longer go through life as you wish, you have to make the necessary changes to proceed in life. I have had to dismount a couple of times in my lifetime.
When I retired from corporate America in 1997 at the young age of 46, I had been working for the same company for 23 years. I wasn’t ready to retire, but my job was to another company and eventually to India, so I had no choice in the matter. It ‘s hard to describe the feelings of abandonment and rejection I felt at losing my career and future.
But after a period of mourning, I metaphorically dismounted and proceeded with another career. I became an assistant professor in Sociology, and found the love of my life career-wise: teaching college students to see the world in a different way. Over the last 20 years, with the exception of about one year, I have taught undergraduate courses. Some days felt like a party was going on!
I found a sense of accomplishment and usefulness in being a teacher. Then, Covid-19 hit, and because of existing health issues, I retired again, this time from my first love.Now, I feel ancient. Yet, I know that life doesn’t end because I can no longer go into a classroom and interact with students.
So, I must “dismount and proceed” again. In the last three weeks, I have preached twice in Zoom for two of the churches we attended before we moved back to Georgia, one in California and one in Tennessee. It’s been over a year since I preached a sermon and I was so nervous, but both were well-received.
I have started a Bible study for the Tennessee church on the Book of Esther, and I am loving it! My days are spent with Bible translations and commentaries and prayer. I love learning, and this is a new start for me! I ask questions, smiling and rewarding good answers and explaining that which needs more indepth discussion.
I am looking to attend seminary online for a Masters of Divinity, to learn how to “present myself approved by God, an unashamed worker, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Some may think that a woman about to turn 69 years old would rather rest and disengage, but that AIN’T me.
When you have to dismount to proceeed, it doesn’t mean you just stand there waiting for something to happen, holding the reins of your horse. It means grabbing the reins and moving forward toward the next destination. Eventually, you will find a smooth path, and you mount the horse again, if that is needed.
I don’t know what retirement will look like, and if I find that I am going in the wrong direction, I will simply dismount, find the right path, mount a horse again, and proceed. Life moves forward, not backwards! Since being put out of the Garden of Eden, humans have had to find new ways to move forward! We still do!