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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Moving day

With a push from God out of our 'last nest,' I learn again that God never abandons us

God teaches that nothing stays the same.

I would never move from Village Square, our “last nest.” The townhouse was adjacent to a college campus with a commanding view of the Massanutten Mountain, offered delightful places to walk, musical and dramatic events to attend, friends continually stopping by. Especially Irene, my wife, and I loved being surrogate grandparents to neighbor children.

Merry Maids cleaned monthly. We had retrofitted the house with grab bars and other amenities. A stair elevator was possible, but my indomitable wife wouldn’t hear of it. Nevertheless, no way would I place us in a “home,” as so many contemptuously call retirementcommunities.

Bill Matthews says the retirement community
Bill Matthews says the retirement community where he and Irene, his wife, live “offers unending opportunities to practice the love asked of the Christian. A smile, a handclasp, a hug, a kind word—these gifts we give one another.”
Then several summers ago, God, who has walked with us during our more than 60 years together, finally got my selfish attention. The impetus was our sons. Jon, who lives in California, feels guilty he is so far away and can’t help us more. Bill began with gentle prods every time he drove down from Princeton, N.J., to visit.

“What do you think guys of my generation are talking about, Dad?” the 54-year-old asked: “ ‘What to do with the old folks?’ ”

“We’re doing all right on our own,” I insisted. But since a mini-stroke, I found myself fearing things like pulling weeds and shoveling snow. We sleep late, a privilege of the old, and on snowy winter mornings, we would wake up to clean walks and car—courtesy of our neighbors. It’s an embarrassment not to be able to do what you once could, especially when you pride yourself for being self-sufficient.


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