What Next?


Armand Gamache retired from his position of Chief Inspector for the Quebec Provincial Police.  But now he has been asked to become the Chief Superintendent.  While still savoring the here and now, what next has appeared on the horizon.  (Louise Penny in “The Nature of the Beast”)

When I read that last night during the ball game I thought of a conversation I had with a plumber only hours earlier.  He had put in a new toilet.  He asked what I had done before retirement and I said I was a pastor, “still am, I guess.”  He then told me that he was a policeman until the winter of 1993, when he had his young partner were ambushed.  He as shot through the mouth and his partner four times.  The shooter was standing over his partner ready to finish him off when he managed to get his gun out and fatally shoot the man.  They both recovered, but he thought he needed to find another way to make a living.  But what next?

What next? Was a question I asked myself when I retired in 2003.  I thought I might get a job in a bookstore.  I like books.  But Becky said that I had never worked for anybody and the first day some 25- year- old assistant manager will ask you to do something you think is stupid.  You will tell him so and be fired the first day.  So, what next turned into doing what I had been hoping to do for some years, do ministry in small churches.  Fifteen years later, I still am.

At some point we all face the “Next.”  Life can change in a moment, then, “What next?”  We go on living trusting that the Lord is with us and will strengthen and direct us, until the Great Next.

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