Where to Go

Romans 4:13
For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

Breaking the News

O Lord, today we told our children
that we are ready to move
to a retirement community.
One said, “It’s about time.”
The other one said,
“It’s a good decision.
You’ll get the care you need.”
As if we were decrepit.
Then a flood of questions:
Where will you go?
When will you put
the house on the market?
Who will sell it for you?
How will you get rid
of the stuff you won’t need?
Not a word about wanting something.
They also offered to help us
pack, move, and unpack.
We’re grateful, Lord, for our children.
Lord, you have been good to us.

Psalm 127:3
Sons are indeed a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.

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CONTINUOUS CARE

Dear Lord, now that we’ve decided to move,
we have to decide where to go–
so many choices, so much advice.
In our area there are several good
continuing care retirement communities.
We can start with independent living,
move to assisted living,
and finally to nursing home care,
twenty-four hours a day
for one or both of us.
That seems like a good idea.
It reminds us that
from birth, to maturity, to death,
we are under your continuous care.
Remind us again of your presence
as we enter another stage of life.

Psalm 23:1-3a
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.

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IT’S NOT SO FAR

Dear Lord God,
I had a good laugh the other day.
I told our pastor
that we had looked at retirement communities
twelve and fifteen miles from our house,
and that that seemed a long way to move.
He chuckled and reminded me
that Abram was 75
when you told him to leave Haran
and take his family to the land of Canaan,
a distance of over 400 miles,
and he did.
I replied, “That may have been
a good move for Abram
because he was going
to the promised land.”
Our pastor quickly responded,
“Maybe the retirement community
will be your promised land.”

Genesis 12:1
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”

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LOOKING FORWARD

Lord, a friend told us that
going to a continuing care community
is like the woman who in succession
married a banker, actor, preacher, and undertaker.
One for the money, two for the show,
three to get ready, and four to go.
It’s a lame old joke.
A neighbor told us that
he would never move
to a retirement home
because it’s a place to die.
As if we could avoid death
by staying in one place.
I have no fear of dying.
I truly believe that there is
greater joy beyond the pale.
I look forward to being
with you in some new form,reunited with loved ones,
and surrounded by abundat love.
Meanwhile, I know that
you will be with us
as we move.

Psalm 23:4a
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me.

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BACKYARD CATHEDRAL

O Lord, I’m sitting
on the backyard bench,
resting from raking leaves.
Across the yard
I see the swing
where my wife loves to sit
and write poetry.
I watch the bamboo grove
swaying in the breeze
at the back of the yard.
I look overhead
at six towering tulip poplar trees
that furnish shade in the summer.
It’s like living
in a backyard cathedral.
For this we are grateful.
As we begin to think about
selling our house,
surely this will be
an attractive feature
to future buyers.
We ask you, Lord, to be with us
as we go through this time
of transition.

Psalm 9:10
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

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PICKING A PLACE

Lord, we’ve made our choice.
We’re going to move to Evergreen Village,
a continuing care community of 1,200 residents.
It has a lovely campus.
We may even be able to have a garden plot.
There are six apartment buildings
for independent living,
one for assisted living,
and a health care center.
We visited the community center
with its fitness room and swimming pool.
We enjoyed lunch in the dining room.
We ate with a friendly couple
who warmly recommended the place.
There are lots of activities.
Almost too many, they warned us.
I think we’ll be happy there.
Next month we’ll select a specific unit.
Then we’ll get on with the tasks
of selling our house, downsizing, and moving.
Thank you, Lord, for being with us.
Guide us as we go ahead.

Psalm 25:2a
O my God, in you I trust. 

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CHOOSING AN APARTMENT

His Perspective

O Lord, we’re ready to choose an apartment
at Evergreen Valley.
We’re thinking of two bedrooms,
or one bedroom plus a den.
That will be larger than our apartment
when we got married:
a one-bedroom, third-floor walkup
with furniture from a second hand store.
As newlyweds we were happy there.
In between we’ve owned three houses
as our family grew and shrank:
a Cape Cod with three small bedrooms,
a big old six bedroom fix-up,
and a compact split level with three bedrooms.
Looking back, it wasn’t the structure
but rather the quality of life
that made each house a home.
O Comforter and Sustainer, we ask your blessing
on our new apartment and our old age.

Numbers 6:24-26
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Hymn: “Bless This House”

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NEW OPPORTUNITY

Lord, our God, we have now
chosen an apartment.
It has a combined living-dining room,
bedroom, den, kitchen, and bathroom.
There is a balcony
that looks out over the trees.
We can see the sky
and changing patterns of clouds.
We grew up on the prairie
where we could see great distances.
It made us realize that there were many
opportunities for serving you.
Now moving to a retirement community
new opportunities for service are offered.
Open our eyes, Lord,
to new ways of service.

John 12:26
“Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.  Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.”

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SPARE ME

His Perspective

One of my friends warned me
that in some retirement communities
the female-male ratio is four to one:
lots of lonely widows looking for men.
“You haven’t had this good picking
since high school,” he joked.
“Not me,” I replied “I’m a one woman man.”
“Then if you become a widower,”
he went on,
“you’ll be even more vulnerable.”
Spare me, O Lord! Spare me!
And spare my wife.
Let her be the survivor.

Genesis 15:15
As for yourself, you shall go to your ancestors in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age.

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PLACES FOR PRAYER

Sitting on our swing,
my husband and I
are enjoying the backyard
and saying goodbye
to the birds, the bushes, flowers,
and the fountain he put in.
We will miss this quiet place, Lord.
The apartment grounds
of the retirement community
are public space.
You needed time apart for prayer.
Help us to find new places
in nature to be alone
to talk with you.

Matthew 14:23a
And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray.

Mark 1:35
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.