I haven’t written for a while, and one might well wonder if I have given up the blogging endeavor for good.  After all, when posts slow down to a dribble, one’s blog quickly becomes irrelevant as readers move on to other things.

And that’s exactly what I am pondering now—irrelevancy.  Five weeks ago I announced to my congregation that I am retiring as of August 1.  The night I announced it to the congregation council, one person, trying to be helpful I’m sure, warned me that I better be prepared.  For what?  That we spend our whole lives trying to advance and get better at our jobs and responsibilities, this person explained.   Once we retire, it’s all down hill.  We become irrelevant.

Secretly in my head I muttered, “Oh, no, I won’t.  I have too much to do, too much planned.”

But there it is—this irrelevancy.  There is truth to it.  My colleagues must go on with their fall plans, and I am not part of that.  Confirmation classes will need to continue and I won’t be teaching.  The congregation knows the interim plans that are being piloted after I leave and there is some excitement around it.  Even I am excited for them.  But I am not a part of it.

And then there are the books that line the lovely floor to ceiling bookshelves in my church office.  As I glance through the titles on the bindings, I notice some of my library has become more irrelevant with age.  There is so much to be found on line, so many ways the church’s priorities have changed that my younger colleagues won’t be much interested in hand-me-downs books.  What I once treasured as critical tools of my calling are, at least to some degree, out-of-date and less relevant.  Since there is not enough space for me to haul them all home, I must do some sorting.

So there is, after all,  in the wind of my life’s transition, a whiff of this thing called irrelevance.  I might as well face it: retirement is indeed a risk.

Only here’s my hope.  That the growing irrelevance of my current activities will actually provide space for what God is inviting to become even more relevant for me and others.  I am hoping I can use gifts within me that are more relevant to the person God has created me to be.  I am hopeful that with this transition I can prioritize my time so that it reflects more strongly the relevancy of the treasured relationships in my life.  Yes, I am counting on this current irrelevancy to become the broken shell for something new that is trying to hatch.


  1. And…ultimately…you are never irrelevant to the God who made you and loves you and who is walking before and with you on this path….( and now, Judith Plotner, say that to yourself a few thousand times, so that it sinks in…:-) )

  2. Cheryl Melnichak says:

    Retirement is one of the things we strive for as we work all those years! What an exciting time in your life. Enjoy!

  3. So excited for you! Freedom to do those things God has put into your heart ❤️ irrelevant I think not.

  4. Sue Smith says:

    I thought last night about how you might be feeling as we plan ahead past the end of July. It’s difficult for me, even though you’re still here, to imagine my life at St. Paul without you. Because (even though God may not approve of this way of thinking) some of us are here in this particular place of worship because of you. Your gifts have supported me in times of sadness and confusion, crises of faith, and moments of self-doubt (remember my panic when I was Council president and you went on sabbatical?). But know that you will leave a lasting impression on the work we are doing and how we treat each other while we do it.

  5. As one who is currently adjusting to retirement, I share your sentiments! Congratulations & many best wishes!

  6. Maggie Ruff says:

    So beautifully written, as usual. You WILL be missed by many. Retirement is what you make it. My last year has been wonderful. I wish you the best.