Enjoying Retirement For a Time

Thursday, May 18, 2017
Ridgefield, Washington, United States
On to Portland, or rather southern Washington just on the other side of Portland, Oregon. Lena's grandfather and his wife live in a little town named Ridgefield, Washington just north of the Oregon border. They are both in their early 90's and don't get out much these days. They are content in their home and living as independently as possible. Whenever we have a chance to visit them, we take it. And whenever we are spending time with them, it's almost like being retired for a little while.

We start the day early, visiting in the living room, talking about the weather and the news . Next comes puzzles and reading in the office. Lunch usually follows just after noon as to miss the big lunch crowds. When you know what you want to order you don't even need a menu, and everyone knows you at your favorite restaurants. After lunch comes more time putting together puzzles and visiting, recalling fun times and listening to interesting stories about George's time in the military or about Louise's time spent growing up in Portland. Dinner comes next. There are always side roads that will take you where you want to go to avoid all the traffic from the new casino or from commuters heading home from work in Portland. After the evening meal it's time to relax and catch a bit of the news, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, and if there is time, part of a Western on one of the local channels.

In the evenings we had the chance to go and see a few friends in the area for a few hours. It was nice to see them with the little time we had in the evenings.
As George and Louise start to slow down, we are able to spend less and less time with them before they are too tired to visit . I always love hearing their stories even if I've heard them a dozen times before. There's always a new element to stories of the work George did in the Coast Guard, the Navy, and in various cities across the country. I love hearing about how Louise met her first husband who worked with George many years before his death. Their families became close, and after both of them were left widowed, George and Louise decided to marry and take care of each other as they age.

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon wrote about enjoying the fruits of our labor. When we work hard, we shouldn't feel bad about enjoying what God has given us.

"Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God" (Ecclesiastes 2:24). When we are living a life that God finds to be fitting, He will give us what we need. "What profit has the worker from that in which he labors," continues Solomon in the very next chapter. "I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor--it is a gift of God" (Ecclesiastes 3:9-13).
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