The reading in church this morning was one of my favourite passages from the Old Testament. It's from the Book of Joel and it includes the promise, "I will restore to you the years which the locust has eaten"
Seven years ago I took early retirement because of ill health. I had loved my job but two years of caring for my mum (she had to cope with the amputation of a leg and then the gradual loss of her health leading eventually to dementia and death) had taken their toll on me and I was more than stressed out and no longer coping. Early retirement was both a relief and a devastation. I felt, as they say, that I was on the scrap heap with little more to give.
The first couple of years of retirement weren't easy either. My sister (whom I'd cared for through cancer ten years earlier) became terminally ill so once again I became a carer. Early retirement was a time of very limited income as only about half my pensions were payable at that time.
Gradually things improved. My income is now comfortable. My home is a peaceful place where I can relax. I'm no longer "the vicar" but I have a regular congregation whom I love and which appreciates me.
And today I am sixty five, the age at which I would have expected to retire anyway. I cannot remember ever being happier than I am now. The locusts munch no more.
God is indeed good