Many people in Liberty County and the surrounding coastal area remember the “good old days” — times when life seemed easier and families seemed closer.
It was a time of hula hoops, hot rods, cherry Cokes, going steady, Veronica & Betty, white bucks and blue suede shoes and “I like Ike.” It was a time when veterans’ parades brought out the whole town, and nothing was better than mom’s home cooking after church on Sunday.
Remember those things, and then fast-forward to today. Where did the time go?
Many of us baby boomers are turning 65, and we can’t believe we are retiring, drawing pensions and Social Security and seeing our grandkids become teenagers and start families of their own.
Many say we finally are ready to live the good life after years of hard work and sacrifice. We are ready to buy that condo in Florida or a motor home to travel the country. We’re ready to see the grandkids grow up and hear people say how lucky we are for being able to do what we always wanted to do and not have to punch the clock.
But for many, retiring is not possible. Stock market losses have paved the way to working without a retirement date. In this tough economy, empty nesting has been replaced by kids and grandkids returning home to live. Lifetime dreams have been replaced by gloom and depression. Health-care issues and rising costs have put people’s dreams on long-term hold.
These issues and more have created a difficult, seemingly impossible environment for us to bear.
We have lost spouses much too early due to many unexpected reasons. We have had to retire at a specific age due to company guidelines. We’ve had to find jobs in fields we are unfamiliar with.
Just when we thought we had the last of the children out on their own and the freedom of less responsibility, we are faced with children returning to the nest. They’re out of work, having lost their homes — and in many cases, bringing their families with them — with no money, job or place to go. We sometimes even take in grandchildren who have been abandoned or neglected.
Others struggle heavily with trying to adjust to retirement after all those years of work and responsibility. We have too much free time, and we feel abandoned, not needed, not useful or not wanted. Depression sets in, and sometimes even worse factors enter in, such as damage to spousal relationships, substance abuse and self-esteem problems. Others are facing the increasing challenges brought by geriatric care of parents, special needs and other family members, which are under their umbrella of responsibility.
The Stephen Ministry is trained specifically to help baby boomers and people of all generations make life adjustments and deal with the issues mentioned above and many others.
They are the “after people” — the people who help you after retirement, the news of a serious diagnosis, an accident or affliction, stress from long-term or unexpected circumstances and issues that strike at the heart of family living.
If you or someone you know could use the help of a caring Stephen Minister, either before or after the difficulty occurs, call John at 912-320-7840.
Stephen Ministry is a totally confidential, gender-sensitive, one-on-one, caring and compassionate, faith-based caring ministry. There is never a cost.
For more information about the global Stephen Ministry program, go to www.stephenministries.org.
Scherer is a crisis intervention minister and the leader of the Stephen Ministry.