I received an official letter last Friday from the Bureau of Naval Personnel in a generic looking manila envelope. I opened it and found that I’ve hit an important milestone. I’ve completed 20 “good” years toward a retirement from the Navy Reserves. I’m now “golden,” or in civilian parlance, vested. Unlike my active duty counterparts, however, I can’t begin drawing a pension as soon as I retire. I must wait until I’m 60. Still, it’s an important milestone, like turning 21, which my oldest daughter did last Friday as well.
For many years I’ve said, I’d stay in the Navy as long as it’s still fun and I keep getting promoted. Last week, as part of my monthly reserve drill, I got to go aboard a brand spanking new Navy ship to meet the commanding officer and some of the crew. Currently there’s no chaplain assigned, so next month I will embark and get underway for a week as the acting ship’s chaplain. There’s nothing like being “haze gray and underway” aboard a US Navy vessel. To me that’s about as much fun as one can have as a chaplain short of getting dirty with infantry Marines. (I mean “dirty” in the clean sense of the word, of course.)
My new milestone reminds me of the Apostle Paul’s words in Galatians 6:9: “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we will reap, if we faint not.” The ultimate retirement plan that I’m longing for involves “a mansion just over the hilltop” where the streets are paved with gold and there’s no more sorrow or tears. How about you? What are you looking forward to?