Friday, August 7, 2015

All His Benefits

What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits to me? Psalm 116:12
Good morning! It's 10:30 as I'm starting to write this. I'm a passenger on a bus at the moment, on my way downtown from mom and dad's -- I plan to get on the light rail to St. Paul to visit someone in the hospital there. It's nice to take a break from driving. I'm doing entirely too much of that lately.

The bus driving job is getting easier, though there are new challenges everyday. The hardest route for me, by far, is the one that has me driving east through downtown at the height of the rush hour and then across the Twin City area all the way to Woodbury. It's the construction zone on 6th street near the new Vikings' stadium and the crowded Interstate 94 that I find most difficult each day. But, as I told my sister-in-law Leah yesterday, there's no real reason why I can't do it safely. It's just hard.

I haven't been writing much online these days, mostly, I think, because a lot of my non-working time has been used taking care of the moving business and also just being present with mom and dad at their condo. We are progressing toward closing the sale of our Cokato home (scheduled for the second week of September) and the rental of a place not too far from Toni's business in Roseville.

[Now I'm on the Green Line train on the way to St. Paul.]

We thought we had settled on renting 2 rooms in a home in St. Paul, less than a mile from Como Park, a place owned by some people our daughter Naomi knows through her church.  But this week Paul Anderson, a pastor and spiritual entrepeneur that I've known for many years called to tell us that he was going to make an offer on a house on Lydia Avenue in Roseville, about a 5 minute drive from Toni's Roseville massage therapy business location. If we were to rent from Paul, Toni and I would have the privilege of participating with him and his wife Karen in their ministry with young adults by having 2-3 of them living in our home. Both of us think that could be an exciting and enriching opportunity.

When I say "enriching" I don't mean financially so. Our expenses these days are exceeding our income, and not by just a little. Whether we rent a part of the house near Como Park or rent from Paul Anderson, the shortfall will continue even after we sell our Cokato home. I'm only working part time (30 hours a week guaranteed) with Metro Transit, and though the wages there aren't bad compared with other similar jobs, it doesn't provide nearly the compensation and benefits that our former church employment provided to Toni and I and our kids. We do have savings, though, and so we'll need to supplement our income with that.

Yesterday afternoon as I was driving my "675C" route to Ridgedale and Wayzata, I started thinking about something that my mother-in-law Jo had been saying back at the time I was deciding to leave my work at Crossroads. She, and the Dahlin family, together with our kids, wanted to mark the end of our many years in full time [paid] service to churches. Jo wrote an email inviting the family to their place in Northfield and she referred to the event as a sort of "Retirement" party.

I didn't, and, don't, think of the changes that have been going on with Toni and me as "retirement," but, in a certain sense, at least for now, we are going to be able to live in a sort of financial semi-retirement. I say that because we DO have savings we can use to supplement our income. Younger people who are working only part time rarely have those kinds of resources to fall back on. So I guess I can, perhaps, not hate everything about the "R" word... If our financial situation continues to be in the red, the fact is that I will be able to use some of our retirement funds because then I'll be fifty-nine and a half years old. I guess that's some sort of magic number in the tax-code world.

We're moving on the train on University Avenue right now at a good clip between stops. It won't be long until we get to downtown St. Paul and I can walk over to Regions Hospital. If I was working full time at a traditional job I might not be able to make this visit. That's something I can celebrate with this unusual part-time work schedule that I have now. Also, my work provides a free transit pass, and if I ever do actually "retire" as a Metro Transit employee, that pass will be permanent. And, beginning next month, I'll be eligible for health insurance. Not free for part time employees, but a lot cheaper than it is now on the individual market.

We've almost arrived now at the Robert Street Station. Time to stop and get off the train!

[I finished writing this before 11:30 AM; published online after I returned to mom and dad's condo]

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