Perhaps it’s because I’m sick yet again. Perhaps it was the fact my husband’s medicine is causing more heart episodes, not less. Maybe it was because I had to make room in the office file cabinet for this year’s receipts. But I started thinking about final arrangements. I made a list of insurance policies and what benefits are payable, and I’m making a list of my and my husband’s retirement funds and how to access them, and we’re preparing advance directives for medical care.
While this may sound ghoulish, I think these are things we all need to think about, and for which we must prepare. The Bible speaks often of prudence, of being thoughtful and careful, of seeking wise choices. “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.” Proverbs 14:8.
It turned out my husband was having the same thoughts, and it was the first time we have ever sat down and talked about “those things” seriously. But it felt good to clear the air, to take stock of where we are, and to know where we might be when it comes time to retire.
As people with disabilities, I think it’s particularly important. I have no idea when or how Social Security kicks me off of SSDI and into retirement. I’ll need to talk to someone to find out, and see what changes that entails. I can’t find anything on their site, and it won’t give me a projected retirement benefit because I’m already receiving disability benefits.
We have no long term care insurance (nursing home or in-home care) because I’m uninsurable. And now that my husband has heart issues, we both might be in that group. But my folks wound up in an assisted living facility. Our local senior resource agency is working on a “village” to keep seniors in their homes, and I hope it will be in place by the time we need it, but will we be able to pay for care to stay in our home?
These are tough, unpleasant questions, but they’re things with which we need to grapple. Most of us aren’t fortunate to have family close by. My son lives 12 hours away, and his career as a wildland firefighter means he’s gone for half the year. My daughter and son-in-law live 1300 miles away and have taken on the responsibility of raising his young niece and nephew as well as their own two sons. It’s up to us to find and maintain a support system. It’s never to soon to start.
• The fourth biannual “That All May Worship Conference” will take place on March 20th in Virginia Beach. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors*, 10 FREE registrations are available for either persons with disabilities, or their caregivers, or anyone working (employed or volunteer) in their faith community’s disability program/ministry. Please contact Karen Jackson at the Faith Inclusion Network, , if you would like to attend. More information is available here:
• UMAMD (United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities) will be meeting at Lovers Lane UMC in Dallas July 31st and August 31st. Special worship service will be celebrated by Eric Pridmore and Evy MacDonald on Sunday, August 2nd. A call for papers and presentations is issued. Requested are theological reflections on life as ministers with disabilities. Presentations can include music, pottery, painting, dance, poetry, vestments, paraments, and other works of art. We are also interested in chapters for a second volume of Speaking Out. For more information and downloadable forms to register for the meeting, please go to:
• For clergy members with hidden disabilities who are pushed into retirement when appointments don’t offer needed and requested accommodations, and that hearts be opened to doing a better job of making accommodations so that people called to the ministry can serve out their career doing what they were called to do.
• That hearts will be opened and touched so that changes will begin in local churches.
Dear Lord God, We thank you that so many doors are opening for this ministry. Please open hearts and minds as well so that more and more of your children will feel welcome in your churches. Thank you for all the people and organizations, from many faiths and traditions, who are working for this cause. We ask that You continue to inspire and to strengthen them. Keep us ever mindful of the blessings with which you bestow us, and help us to use them prudently. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
“That All May Worship Sponsors”
Lutheran Family Services of Virginia, Community Direct Services, Hoy Construction Inc., St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children, Lynn Haven United Methodist Church, Elim Christian Services, Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Cornerstone Sunday School of the Virginia Beach United Methodist Church, Jesus Cares Ministries, Jewish Family Services, Koehler Books Publishing, Lutheran Services in America Disability Network, Lynnhaven United Methodist Women, Rosemarie Scotti Hughes, Ph.D., Support Services of Virginia, The Chosen Ministry, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Virginia Beach Christian Church, Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church,