I have been a teacher for a long time; 46 years to be precise. But I trained to be a teacher several years before that and have wanted to be a teacher since I was in Grade 2 some 65 years ago. A lifetime of commitment cannot be part of your conscious self for so long without giving some thought to retirement. You start to collect tropes from others in the same situation – I’ll teach until I drop, I can’t wait to get out of here, I’ll stay so long as it is fun, etc. You become a collector of these rationalizations over time, trying each one on in turn and as a practicing Christian, rejecting them all as being unworthy of the God you serve.

The only reason that ever made any sense to me, on a practical as well as a spiritual level (we are all spiritual beings; some of us just are just more conscious of that reality) was that I would teach as long as God had a use for me in the classroom.

Not that I have ever used the classroom to proselytize my faith. That would degrade both my faith and my God by using my position to advance a personal agenda. But I have always seen my profession as more of a calling than an occupation. God finds us all in all the places He ordains for a reason. It was never too difficult to figure out what He wanted me to do, and I have always been happy to do it. I entered teaching with barely more than a change of clothes. He has taken me quite literally to the other side of the planet and enriched my life in countless ways. I would be a fool NOT to follow Him.

So when I had a (mild!) heart attack while teaching back in January, it didn’t take me long to realize that God was speaking to me and I should pay attention. Well, to be honest, it took an angiogram of my extensive arterial clogging, two surgeries, seven stents, and weeks of atrial fibrillation to get my attention. I’m a little hard-headed, you know. But when the penny did drop, as it did on March 20 while having a morning coffee with Pam in downtown George Town, it dropped with the settled surety of divine fiat.

Since then I haven’t given a stray thought to the possibility of staying any longer. Nor do I have any regrets for staying as long as I did. I have had an absolutely amazing career, teaching the subjects and grades I wanted and avoiding most of what is boring and tedious. I have taught on four continents, in six countries, in nine schools to thousands of students over the course of my long career and never met anything but respect and appreciation for all that I have tried to do.

My God has been sufficient for my every need. I have served Him with joy, and leave the classroom now with gratitude for this calling, and a lifetime of happy memories in store. May your own retirement be as fulfilling as mine has been.