Retirement came easy to me. It was something that I had longed for—and for good reason. Work had been fine, and there had always been things I enjoyed doing. But there had always been an element of things I hadn’t enjoyed, but was expected to do. And sometimes I just couldn’t see the point of what I was doing. My problem was that I was brought up to question everything. And when I did, it often left others scratching their heads, wondering.
So, another move, and I was free to pursue my change in direction—translating and writing those books. And this time, I could set timeframes and deadlines of my own choosing, knowing full well that it was now completely up to me whether I met them or not.
Now I must say, I had always enjoyed writing and delivering sermons—it’s what I’d liked most about ministry. I particularly enjoyed it, because I learnt a lot about God and myself in the process. So, what I found in translating the Bible, was that I learnt a lot more. Nevertheless, the time came when the first volume was finished, and I really wondered whether I had the inner-strength to publish it.
After all, publishing any work effectively says something about the person who wrote it—whatever it is. But was I confident that I had done a good enough job? So, I hesitated, and even perhaps delayed that part of the process for a while. But in the end, I knew that the whole point was to produce the bible in a format that the modern reader could understand. So, I went ahead. And I’m glad now that I did. Because I have since been encouraged by the number of people who have read it, and have been helped by it.
However, having completed one volume (of what should be a set of five) it was then time to get on with the second. But the more I wrote the more it occurred to me that I hadn’t really retired. Yes, I was doing something that I loved, but in doing so it took up a lot of my time. Indeed, it was like a full-time job, but without a regular salary. However, I knew that what I was doing was helping others—particularly regarding their journey of faith. And wasn’t that the whole point of the exercise? So, I continued on.
Now I may have given the impression that during this period of my life I was able to write the books completely uninterrupted. However, the reality is that in order to retire I needed to move house—and I have also moved once since. Furthermore, the completion of each of the books was interrupted by me doing locums (in official and unofficial capacities) in a number of parishes. In addition, I helped out in my own home parish, and assisted other churches as I was able. Indeed, there were several instances, where I needed to get ahead in my writing schedule, so I could accommodate the requests for help in the various churches and parishes in which I became involved.
Unfortunately, fulfilling these requests was not always as straight forward as it should have been. On one occasion the accommodation was sub-standard. And on more than one occasion I was rewarded with far less than the minimum payment set by the denomination’s governing body. Now, of course, that kind of abuse did not help my spiritual walk. And, indeed, it made me wonder why I bothered at all. After all, I had plenty of work to occupy myself without these other “distractions”. And it is probably because of this that I began to re-think where I was in terms of my own spirituality, and indeed whether it was time to move on from the church to which I belonged.
Now one of the complications of my home church was that it was some distance from where I lived. When I first went there, I knew that it was the place where God had wanted me to be. But now, I felt God was calling me to worship much closer to home. So that is what I decided to do. The complication, however, was that after having made the decision to change spiritual homes, I received two requests from parishes for help. And despite earlier disappointments in regards to the way I was treated, I accepted a part-time position as locum. It was a decision that I would come to regret, and it served simply to delay me from finding a new spiritual home.
Posted: 19th March 2017
© 2017, Brian A Curtis