Tom and I returned late yesterday afternoon from a wonderful week in St. Louis where I attended a day and a half of Executive Committee meetings and he and I both were part of the annual conference for POAMN (Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network). It is an organization with which I have been associated for twenty years, both as active member, two separate terms on the nominating committee, three years as secretary and six as president. My term ended this week and my response is bittersweet. It's time for me to concentrate more energy toward at home responsibilities, but I will miss the hands on involvement. POAMN has benefitted and blessed me in so many ways. It taught me older adult ministry; my circle of colleagues in ministry expanded and gave me opportunities to learn from the ministries of others; it gave me a platform to speak for both the gifts and the needs of older adults; and working with people with different theological perspectives who serve the same Lord and love the same older adults was a broadening experience. Some of my closest, dearest friends are those I have met through POAMN. This past week gave me an opportunity to re-connect with some of them--indeed, the highlight of the week!
St. Louis was beautiful, Spring being a little behind ours here. When we left, the dogwood in our front yard was beginning to fade slightly, but the week away saw those remaining blossoms drop and be replaced by a full dress of green. Redbuds were blooming everywhere we looked, both in St. Louis and along I-55. They were particularly pretty interspersed with dogwood in the woods. From the restaurant where we ate dinner one night of the conference we could look down on a park by the river and see them as well. The restaurant was a revolving one atop a downtown hotel and we had a ringside seat for the sunset, traffic on the river, Busch Stadium (the Cardinals were away) and the Arch. I was born and raised by the mighty Mississippi and I never tire of watching it. It is a return to my roots or to use river terminology, my headwaters.
The conference was one of the best we've had. For me, it seemed strange hearing ideas for ministry, knowing that I am no longer in active ministry in the church. The conference theme, "Leaving a Living Legacy," was carried out in the sharing time, keynote addresses, worship and seminars, all of which gave me help for this stage in our lives. What values would I like to leave my children and grandchildren? How do I want to be remembered? How can I take what I learned about dealing with someone with memory loss and help that person leave his life story?
We have lots to think about.
Upon arriving in town we went straight to Tommy's to see the grandchildren and were greeted with hugs, reports of their week and a big smile from Elisa. Today the four oldest have come to play for a while at our house--lots of activity!!! It was good to go, but good to come home.
This next week I have scans, bloodwork and a visit with the doctor. You know the prayer request--no cancer. Everything else is back to normal. Take time tomorrow to worship with others. God will be glorified and you will be blessed.