It's a decision most people must make in their lives. Or perhaps it is a number of decisions. One such decision was announced yesterday, as one of the most recognizable figures in the world gave up his job. Pope Benedict XVI is resigning, a move not very often taken by a person who has been given a position for life. Presidents have said, “I do not choose to run.” Athletes have announced this will be their final season. And on a more universal note, people throughout the working world decide to take the offer their company has made and call it a career.
I call it “going out on a high note.” Your head is held high and you are proud of what you did and can accept the situation that you will no longer be doing that. I made my decision in 1997, as I walked away with a generous retirement package and a souvenir book of my going away party. I have never looked back.
But sometimes I am sorry for those who have to hang up the gloves when they are not physically or emotionally ready. There was a president resigning his job in disgrace. Athletes struggle with their injuries and finally get taken out on a stretcher or don't make the team that final year. Workers receive lay-off notices long before they are through with their careers. And older folks need to work to survive, even though the jobs are few and far between.
It think it is a wonderful thing to be able to hang up the gloves before you ears are cauliflower shaped, your nose is bent in several directions and you hear ringing in your ears all the time. It is a shame to see pro football players using walkers when they once ran for touchdowns. It is also a shame to see a middle aged businessman who can't find a job or is too old to start over in another career. The nation is full of them.
I wish we all could be the Pope with a job for life but with the ability to walk away at any time we feel it is time to hang up the gloves. I wonder if he will still be able to talk to God?