By LAURA LEE LEATHERS
My 88-year-old mother, struggling with physical handicaps, sometimes jokingly asked, “Where are the golden years that everyone talks about? I’m still looking for them.” Del Webb and his company coined the term when they developed the first retirement communities, promoting a life of leisure for those in their “golden years.”
Let’s be realistic. Anything but golden, our lives are often more complex and challenging after 60. But despite the challenges and changes, the years beyond 60 can also be our most rewarding and productive.
Octogenarian Joe McKeever, pastor and cartoonist, retired at age 69. In his blog post “How to Get Old and Love It,” Joe wrote, “While we may retire from salaried positions, we stay with the calling.”
That is precisely what Joe and his wife, Bertha, are doing. Together they travel across the Southeast and speak at senior gatherings. Joe also preaches, blogs, and draws cartoons and caricatures. In their book “Sixty and Better! Making the Most of our Golden Years,” Joe and Bertha share godly wisdom, encouragement, cartoons and humor while answering questions about this age and stage of life.
What made me want to learn more about Joe was something I read on his Facebook page:
The message I often preach to senior adults: Don’t quit now! Five Solid Reasons Not to Quit:
1) It’s just getting good.
2) You’re doing your best work for the Lord now.
3) You do not know what God is doing through you.
4) The end is in sight. You can see the lights of home in the distance.
5) Others are watching you. Your faithfulness encourages them.
So be faithful! Keep at it. This is no time to slack off.
Recently, I asked Joe for his top encouragement tips for the “golden years.” The following is from that conversation and his book:
Live in the Psalms. The older we get, the more this wonderful collection of hymns seems to speak our language, to understand us, and to know where we live and how to touch us in the deepest, most personal places.
Stay busy. Bertha crochets and is an adjunct professor. I (Joe) am involved with drawing and reading all the time.
Laugh often. After my cancer situation some 20 years ago, I pulled all the “Reader’s Digest” magazines I had saved and read all the jokes and short stories. Laughter is the best medicine.
Walk. While walking, I can think and talk to the Lord and go over a sermon I’m about to preach.
Reflecting on Psalm 92:12-15, Joe wrote:
God is promising and predicting that those who live for Him through the years, enjoying what Eugene Peterson called “a long obedience in the same direction,” will be fruitful in their old age, as well as youthful, beautiful and truthful. I’m for that!
If you would like to order Joe and Bertha’s book and other publications, or have Joe come to speak, please contact him at 504-615-2190 or visit joemckeever.com.
How has God redefined your retirement?
At this age and stage of her life, Laura Lee Leathers focuses on “Helping You Flourish in Faith & Finish Well by His Word.” She is an award-winning freelance writer, speaker, and mentor. She has started the Facebook group scribes4HIM to connect with writers. But her favorite thing to do is host Nana’s Weekend for her grandchildren. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit lauraleeleathers.com.