Note: This blog was originally written in Dec. 2019. It has been updated in 2022 for style and content.
Retirement is usually a time to slow down and pursue other passions apart from our careers. But some people have been called to a vocation that doesn’t end just because they’ve hit a certain age.
Bob M., a resident at Otterbein SeniorLife Marblehead, is one of those people. As a retired pastor, he continues to live out his calling by serving as the volunteer chaplain on campus. Read more about his work in this blog post.
Serving Spiritual Needs on Campus
Bob, who’s lived at Otterbein for several years, said he was helping to serve the campus’ spiritual needs even before receiving his official designation as volunteer chaplain.
“Basically I’m there for any kind of thing that might need a religious aspect to it,” he said.
That includes alternating with the pastor during weekly services in the assisted living area, visiting those in the Jane Baker House and Cornerstone Cottage, and helping out every six months at the Celebration of Life on campus.
Bob enjoys staying involved to not only live out his calling but to keep active and engaged on campus.
“There’s just all kinds of things people can do. You don’t need to just sit back and do nothing and be bored,” he said. “We can still stay active, and [older adults] have more experience in working with people and life in general.”
Living at a Continuing Care Retirement Community
Bob and his wife moved into Otterbein in September 2015. At the same time, Bob’s mother also moved into the assisted living center on campus, where she lived for just over a year.
The couple enjoys life in their patio home, which is located in a secluded nook of campus near the woods. And the fact that the home is all on one floor has been helpful for both Bob and his wife.
Besides enjoying their physical home, the couple feels peace of mind that they can call Otterbein home for the rest of their lives.
“With the continuing care, you have the security of knowing you’re in a system that you’re not going to be turned away from,” he said.
As the volunteer chaplain, Bob said he likes the fact that Otterbein is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and offers a Christian perspective.
“There’s a flavor here that may not be as evident at a regular nursing home somewhere,” he said.
Nurture Your Vocational Calling
Even though retirement can be a chance to re-focus on how you spend your days, you don’t have to stop doing the things you love.
For Bob, that means carrying out his volunteer chaplain duties, filling in for pastors in the larger community when needed, and writing a monthly Chaplain’s Corner column in the Otterbein Marblehead newsletter.
“When we get older … we can still stay active. And we have more experience in working with people and life than a 35-year-old does, so we bring wisdom into it,” he said. “I maintain that even if a person can’t get out of bed, as a Christian they can still let Christ’s love flow through them.”
To stay in touch with your calling, try doing some of the following:
- Look for a volunteer activity that appeals to your talents and interests.
- Consider teaching other people about a hobby or skill you know well.
- Read a book or magazine article about something you enjoy doing.
Learn More About Whole-Person Wellness
Vocational wellness is just one part of achieving complete wellness in body, mind, and spirit. At Otterbein, we help residents nurture nine degrees of wellness, including
Learn more about these facets of wellness and get tips for improving your own wellness today by downloading our free guide.