In seeking inspiration for writing this note, I reviewed the Class Agent letters that I have written for you in the past. That’s only partly true, as my motive was mostly to avoid repeating stories, as that is a sure sign of entering one’s dotage!
The first letter sent was in the fall of 2003, so this year’s fall letter marks the beginning of my 16th year as your class agent. Things have changed since then, and things have remained the same. Most of us were in or nearing the final years of our working careers at that time. Now, most of us are retired, and, I truly hope, doing what we WANT to do rather than what we HAVE to do.
I know from my contacts with many of you that a significant part of retirement involves being in service to others in the form of church, community, or charitable activities, transferring skills from working life into new and challenging settings that benefit others more than ourselves. Insufficient time during our working lives tended to keep such service activities in the background.
My own service work now largely revolves around the establishment and operation of a museum dedicated to local history, though I must admit that the satisfaction derived from this activity makes it hardly “work.”
If you are like me, since retiring (and before!), there has been a definite need to learn to say “no.” Even in a small, rural community like mine, there are so many causes worthy of one’s time, and due to the visibility of those of us in leadership positions, or with needed skills, there are continual appeals to take on additional roles in the community. Many people seeking help with community projects misinterpret the word “retired” as “time available.” It is all too easy to find oneself spread too thin. Keeping a healthy balance and perspective of priorities among all the demands for your time from family, personal aspirations and needs, and service work is essential, of course.
This attitude toward service that many of us share was quite likely instilled or at the very least firmed up during our time at Luther, where service has long been taught as an essential Christian value. The stated educational mission of Luther College is to produce “individuals with disciplined and inquisitive minds, equipped to understand and confront a changing society, and committed to using their talents to serve the common good. …Luther seeks to ensure that all students will grow in knowledge (and) abilities, and mature in values during their undergraduate years and be motivated to continue this growth throughout their lives.”
To ensure that Luther is able to continue this mission of teaching and promoting service as a virtue, as it did with us, please do what you can to support the College. As we move into the later stages of life, please also consider including gifts to Luther in your estate planning. Contact the Development Office for information.
Best wishes as you pursue whatever retirement path you find yourself on!