Au Revoir for Now

Retirement, that perplexing magical state of being, twirled in my head for months. I assumed I would have to wait until December when I reached the official number, which makes me eligible for Medicare. I remember sitting in Church a few months back when a somewhat random thought popped into my head… “Why not May?” Is this you, Lord? I thought to myself.

“Why not May!”

This new possibility detonated in my head. I promptly handed it over to God for clarity and guidance. Over months, undeniable indicators became clear that this was the path. So, how do I sever the cord from something I’ve been so intrinsically bound to for decades? This vital work has defined and driven me? I am guilty of loving my work, the people I serve, and working in the Lord’s vineyard, metaphorically speaking. 

I’ve always felt called to this work. While God has indeed equipped me, I had little formal training. Through it, God has guided and instructed me along the way. As I taught others, I learned. Teachers don’t teach because they have all the answers, but often it is how they understand. This is true for me. I had no semesters in theology or philosophy nor the importance of preserving the best part of me for my family. There needed to be more mentors along the way. Sadly, my family sometimes had to pay the cost for my incredible boundless energy and generous heart. And so, I gave and gave and continued to give.

The sweet dilemma is that it never felt like a burden. 

God often used me as His instrument to accompany someone hurting, confused or lost. I encouraged and reminded them of their heavenly Father’s great care and generous love. At times, I was honored to be his voice or presence to those He sent my way. The work is both humbling and inspiring. Imagining I made even the slightest fraction of a difference in someone’s life or marriage is humbling. All for His glory! At times, my street cred on suffering helped make sense of the often-misunderstood senselessness of suffering.

But back to the topic of retirement.

I want to spend more time with my family and have no deadlines to rush back. I want to write, and create. After some rest, I will happily go where He leads me without time or distance constraints. I wish to pray, think, and adore without hurrying out the door.

I crave carefree timelessness.

What time is left? No one knows. I have survived several close calls. My husband claims I am on my “sixth life.” Were all those scary health crises wake-up calls? ‘Stop and rest’ moments, shared suffering opportunities, or get your life in order prompts?


Are there regrets that I worked too long and gave too much of myself to strangers and too little to my marriage and family? The doubt that sometimes seeps into my imagination whispers that she saved others but couldn’t save herself.

But I’m not supposed to save myself. No, that is Christ and His Merciful Heart. He knows the intention, effort, and sacrifices I make. He has taken excellent care of my family while I tended His little lost and wounded sheep, always pointing them to their Shepherd.

So, why the mental justification for retiring? 

Is it my stinking ugly pride that will not be fed if I choose to retire and not be Barb Lishko, Marriage Coordinator Extraordinaire, workhorse, know-it-all, and dessert hack? It is a well-established fact that I’m no good at saying no. However, in saying yes to something, I am saying no to something else to someone else. My whole life, I thought there was room for both. Reality and my temperament proved otherwise.

Any sane person cannot understand this ensuing deliberation. 

It will be fine. I know this in my heart; it will be fantastic! I don’t comprehend it right now as I have only had tiny snippets of sweet freedom. I cannot imagine the incredible joy of completely letting go. Perhaps there is a misguided sense of duty that keeps poking at me, that somehow, I am necessary, important, irreplaceable. 

What a smug prideful statement! Everyone is replaceable at their job, and to think for a second that God doesn’t have a plan for His Church AND for me is madness. 

When I am away, I want to stay away, and I begin to feel the joy of just being me-a wife, daughter, mother, grandmother, and friend. “Just…” as if that wasn’t fulfilling enough. I want FREEDOM from emails, budgets, schedules, appointments, and deadlines. FREEDOM to hang out longer with those I love, linger at the beach, ponder in the mountains, or loiter in bed in the morning.

Selfish? Lazy?

Why do I continue to expend more words on what I know is the best and most desirable thing? This is how female brains are wired. Thinking and rethinking every scenario to an infinite degree.

So, June 1st it is. Twenty years from when I started at St. Andrew’s

No regrets, only preparation, anticipation, and yet-to-be-discovered liberty.

I can’t wait to see what you do with me next, Lord. I can’t wait to be more active in all those babies’ lives. Look out, kids, here comes your crazy mudder.

Published by pouredmyselfoutingift

Catholic, wife, mother, and grandmother. Ministering to those preparing for marriage and struggling within them. Cooker, baker, and dessert maker. Passionate, giving, action-orientated, dedicated to marriage and family and sharing the Good News.

22 thoughts on “Au Revoir for Now

  1. Congratulations Barb! It’s a great decision. Enjoy your retirement doing things that bring you much joy!


  2. Congratulations! Thanks for all you did at Saint Andrews for the kids, for the adults and for all your friends. The future will be exciting! Hang on for the ride and enjoy retirement with your family and grandkids.


  3. Barb, you have definitely “poured yourself out in gift” to so many of us in the vineyard!
    Many blessings on all the adventures that lie ahead! Well done, good and faithful one!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dearest friend Barbara,
    I’m so happy for you and the next chapter in your life. The best is yet to come after all your generousity, helpfullnest, dedication, Kindness etc… given to all. I can go on for a long time but all I have to say, “A fabulous woman like you, has nothing to worry about ever, even less retirement”. It will come to you, you know better than me. How time flies. You need this time for you now. I cherish all the great time we had my friend and wish you the best of the best with your beautiful family. Congratulations for your retirement!
    Miss you, love you

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations Barb. You have worked hard and given of yourself so much and now you get to enjoy the gift of retirement. Enjoy every moment ❤️



  6. Well said, Barb! Thank you for teaching me, being an ear, sharing ideas and even bringing some to fruition, peanut M&Ms and chocolate raisins, but most of all thank you for your friendship.

    You’ll be missed as a colleague. BUT I’m very excited for your next chapter. Savor every moment!


  7. Well deserved Mudder! You have touched countless people in an amazing way and helped people to see the importance of God in their every day lives. Everyone who had an encounter with you is better off because of it. Love you and congratulations!

    Oldest boy


  8. Beautifully summarized. While speaking about the end of a season and the start of a new one in your life, there’s infinite wisdom there for anyone, in any stage of life to reflect on the season that they’re in. From all those whom you said yes to at deep personal costs, I say thank you. Blessings and prayers for the new road ahead. Many of our lives have been infinitely enriched by you pouring yourself in gift.


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