Variety is the Spice of Life

Posted on June 18, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

Family and friends often comment on how busy we seem to be. Colleagues who preceded us into a retirement lifestyle alerted us to the reality of being busier than ever. That’s true, but we have found the difference is we are busy with what we choose to do rather than what we have to do. That makes a big difference in busyness not being stressful but enjoyable.

We have been able to fill our time with social relationships, work and ministry, and balance travel and speaking with delightful interludes at home. We have time to take morning walks together, watch the sunrise with a cup of coffee from our front porch swing and relax in the evening twilight in our rocking chairs on the back porch sit-out.

Being at home most of the spring months, I have been blessed to teach our Sunday School class–a large, receptive group, like us, of seniors with a young self-image.

This has also been a delightful time of having friends over for lunch and occasional fellowship after church on Sunday nights. Bobbye is pictured in front of the historic Latimer House (1895) where she recently co-hosted a wedding shower. And last week we enjoyed a leisure drive up the Natchez Trace to Tupelo for a visit with my sister-in-law, Rosamond, who has moved into a retirement home.

The last couple of weeks involved traveling to Kansas City to meet with the Vision 5:9 consortium, a group of mission agencies and churches committed to seeing Revelation 5:9 fulfilled, especially among unreached Muslim people groups. There was a conference call with leaders from Mission America about how to more effectively reach the massive numbers of ethnically-diverse immigrants in our country and a meeting with a local committee and representatives of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to plan a crusade in Clinton next year.

I have found work in the yard to be personally fulfilling as well as physically beneficial. Having six Saturdays in a week has enabled me to move toward accomplishing the vision for landscaping this barren plot of land and restoring it to the verdant beauty I remember when I lived here as a child. The backyard hillside and wooded area which is designed to become our “prayer garden” (pictured} is shaping up and almost to the maintenance level. My project to rebuild an old iron-wheeled wheelbarrow has resulted in a backyard flower-planter among various yard ornaments.

Being a sports addict, this has also been delightful season, watching the French Open tennis tournament in the mornings, the U.S. Open golf tournament this weekend and the extended NBA championship play-offs interspersed in the evenings. I have rationalized that watching the NASCAR races on Sunday afternoon is not a violation of my sabbath rest; the brain-numbing hypnotism in watching cars go around the track week after week was worth it with Dale Earnhart’s win this week!

However, summer travel provides a stimulating variety to our at-home routine. This week we are at the Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans. This was always a stressful and demanding time during my tenure as IMB president with multiple speaking responsibilities, appearance at endless peripheral meetings, preparing our mission presentation and report as well as dealing with occasional controversy. Now I get to hang-out in the corridors and wander the exhibit hall visiting with friends like other messengers to the convention without any obligations. I am trying to feign interest in the business and program presentations while relishing the socialization!

Indeed, life is good–we are grateful for God’s blessings and for the variety of interests and activities.

One Comment on “Variety is the Spice of Life”

  1. Nellie Walters

    Jerry and Bobbye,

    Enjoyed reading the last rankinfile and relate to most of what you are doing in retirement. Right now, I am really stressed about our move.
    Yes, our house in under contract and we have a contract on a similar place at the Highlands Campbell Station to close on July 2. Angela is here this week helping us pack.

    I did talk with Rusell about the area and he was a lot of help. Hope to see you when you visit the grandkids in Thompson Station.


Leave a Reply

More News