Just as we are finally entering a new season, which we call Spring, and we had such a difficult time in doing so; so, it is with our lives. My wife made the observation recently that she and I are about to enter a new season in our lives we call retirement. I must admit that I approach this new season of my life with mixed emotions.

On the one hand I have been blessed to have served the Lord as a Social Worker Counselor/Supervisor for 10 years, a Roman Catholic Priest for 5 years in which I was the Roman Catholic Chaplin, parish assistant, and leader for a Retreat program, and finally Counselor at Lutheran Family Service for the past 17 years. These various positions have brought me great challenges and great rewards.

As I move toward retirement I am struck with the notion of how important it is for us as individuals and couples to plan for this new season of our lives.

It is crucial for people to do some visioning as to what their plan is for this new season. For me, I know that Joan and I plan to return to Minnesota and reconnect with family, particularly with our God-children. We also envision ourselves doing some more traveling.

Next, it is important to explore how financially prepared you are to embark on this new season of your life which is both daunting and exciting at the same time. Praise God, someone “put a bug” in Joan and my ears about the necessity of planning our finances for what we wanted them to look like. Thankfully we listened; and have a plan.

Another area to be focusing on are your physical health and mental health concerns. Part of growing older, is that our bodies start to break down and/or change. Do you have a plan to handle that, such as adequate health insurance to meet your medical needs? Who will care for you if you can’t physically care for yourself? What if you must be the caregiver? How will you handle it emotionally? Do you have a support system in place? I know that for Joan and I we are both looking at our disabilities that will continue to deteriorate. For me it will be my sight, which will eventually result in me having even more blindness, and for my wife it will mean advancing Post Pollio symptoms.

One line of thought that has continually shaped Joan and my discussions is how are we going to take care of these vessels that the Lord has given us?  Physically both of us are exercising three times per week and are committed to eating healthy. To keep my mind active, even though I will be retired I will fill in for pastors who need weekend coverage and will also possibly do some counseling.  Joan keeps busy quilting, reading, volunteering and helping me.

In conclusion, it is best to be prepared as we head into each season of our lives.  Additionally, it has been both an honor and a privilege to have served on the LFS staff for these past 17 years and to have counseled and ministered to the people of western Iowa.

Rev. Gerry Bruhn, LISW – Clinical Social Worker for Lutheran Family Service


A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,

And a season for every activity under heaven:

A time to be born and a time to die,

A time to plant and a time to uproot,

A time to weep and a time to laugh,

A time to mourn and a time to dance,

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

A time to embrace and a time to refrain,

A time to search and a time to give up,

A time to keep and a time to throw away,

A time to rear and a time to mend,

A time to be silent and a time to speak,

A time to love and a time to hate,

A time for war and a time for peace.

Eccl. 3:1-8

More posts about Mental Health