Doug Creamer: Reunions
The faculty at East Davidson had a nice party for the two retiring teachers at East this year. They gave us some nice gifts. One of mine was a t-shirt that said, “Retired Teacher, Every Child Left Behind!” I roared with laughter when I opened it. Naturally, I put it right on. In case you don’t know, it’s a spoof on, “No child left behind.”
I took a selfie with the t-shirt on my last workday at school. Anyone who knows me knows that I love being a teacher and I love my students. But I can enjoy the humor in the shirt, and had a great time wearing it. I like wearing it because it makes people smile.
I posted the picture on Facebook and had more likes on it than anything I had ever posted. Actually, I posted two pictures together. The first was my last, first day of school picture. I was wearing a nice dress shirt and a great looking tie. Then next to it, my last day of school, was me in my t-shirt.
I had fun reading all the comments left by friends. One comment caught my eye, “Are you going to make the retirement party tomorrow?” I had no idea what the person was writing about. I inquired and waited. There was to be a retirement party at a former colleague’s house. The catch was that these were all former North Stanly teachers.
I sought out the details so I could be there. Everyone was just getting some food and sitting down when I walked in. There was a cheer at my arrival, which was nice. But later, when some others arrived, they got cheers, too.
It was so great to see former colleagues from North Stanly, many of whom I had not seen for over twenty years. I was the newest retiree, at only two days. I was welcomed warmly by everyone. There were plenty of laughs and lots of stories swapped. There was some good advice from the experienced retirees to help guide me in my new adventure. I really enjoyed catching up with my former colleagues.
Naturally, there were some great stories from back in the day. The laughter filled the room. I heard of others who had also retired and had moved on to other things. Sadly, I heard of still others who had passed away. A lot happens in twenty-plus years. Several talked about leaving North Stanly and finishing their careers in other places, much like I did.
Regardless of where we finished our careers, everyone in that room was family. That was something I discovered, I have been fortunate to develop close, family-like relationships wherever I have worked. That doesn’t happen easily. The closeness that is developed takes time, because it requires openness with one another.
When your colleagues become like family, it’s natural to want to get the family together for a reunion. One thing I realized while we were all together was that we all loved our jobs. We all loved being teachers (and one administrator who also joined us.) We loved our students and we loved the subjects we had the honor to teach. When you have a group of people who love their jobs and are committed to each other, it’s natural that they are going to be like family.
When you think about it, isn’t that what church is supposed to be like, also? We are the family of God who has a reunion each week. We are a committed group of people to each other and to our church. We want to honor God by doing our part in the family of God.
There are different jobs and things that need to be done in order for our church family to function. Beyond the obvious need for the pastor to lead the group, we need Sunday school teachers, deacons, elders, choir members, musicians, administrative staff, and cleaning staff, just to mention a few. If we want our family to work and to work well, we all need to do our part to help the family stay strong.
I want to encourage you to commit and connect to your church family. Find ways that you can help your family grow and be strong. I know we all pray for our pastor and the church, but what can you do beyond prayers to make a positive difference in the lives of other church members? It can be as simple as a helping hand in a time of need. Discover how you can make a positive impact on your church family, and do it.
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