The Pearl of Great Price

What is next on my journey now that the end of my working season is almost upon me? I need to slow down and ponder this but can’t stop the whirlwind that I find myself in. Nothing else is slowing down long enough for me to consider it. I don’t think I will know how to introduce myself as simply me when I no longer have a title to illustrate to others who I am or what to expect. But it’s what I want to be. Me. It lends itself to attracting a greater acceptance of simply being human.

Coming to terms with actually being old enough to retire from paid employment is hard. I have plans but they don’t always work out how you think they will do they? What if it all goes wrong? There’s no way back from it. No way out now the decision’s made. It’s out of my hands.

Like the man who took all his belongings to pay for a pearl he had been searching his whole life to obtain. He was left with nothing but the pearl – something he had wanted his whole life, spent his whole life working, saving and searching for. Now it belonged to him. But what was the cost? He was living in an empty room with nothing to sit on, sleep on, no lamp to shed light for him, no table to eat from, and no jug to hold water to drink. I wonder if the pearl that had cost him all he owned was worth the price he’d paid for it? (Matthew 13:45-46)

The parables of Jesus teach us a lot of things – with no right or wrong answers. We interpret them by how we feel at any given moment on our life journey. I tried to compare the man giving up all he owned to obtain the pearl as a parallel to my giving up paid work for the freedom to choose how I live out the remainder of my life; the freedom of choice being my pearl of great price. I hope it is worth the cost.

S. Kierkegaard said: ‘Life can only be understood backwards but must be lived forwards.’ Therefore, I will watch, wait, listen and be ready to make choices that will enhance and embrace the next phase of my life – this precious pearl that is the gift of retirement.

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