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ndp_retirement2013“Hi, I’m Carole Duff.” I checked in with the two women at the desk outside the Sister Helen Marie Duffy Center where I had taught in-coming Freshman Laptop Camps and faculty workshops.

“Oh, yes, we heard that you were coming,” they said. “How long has it been since you left NDP?”

“Three years – it doesn’t seem possible, does it?” I replied as I filled out my ‘Hello, my name is’ tag, peeled the back off and stuck it to my blouse.

Last week, I made the four-hour drive from Vanaprastha to Towson, Maryland to attend another retirement party at Notre Dame Preparatory School. Last year, it was the Head Librarian, and this year, the Director of Admissions, a Middle-Level Math teacher and an Upper-Level Social Studies teacher, all three with many years of service and saying Au Revoir to spend more time with family.

I hugged and waved and chatted my way across the conference room, ate a few hors d’oeuvres, listened to speeches, and hugged, waved and chatted my way back to my friend Sarah – we were going to Fallston Seafood for our usual crab cakes.

My former colleagues and I exchanged updates, summaries of life’s ebbs and flows – marriages, graduations, deaths and illnesses, births. Mine went like this: Last year, we moved Mother to Assisted Living and sold her house, Dad’s house burned and Keith retired to oversee the reconstruction, we sold our townhouse in Alexandria and moved to the mountain house permanently, Dad passed away this spring and will be buried at Arlington Cemetery in July, Keith is managing his estate and the sale of Dad’s house, and we are both writing – new careers, new missions.

After taking a breath, I said, “I really miss NDP, but God had a better plan for me.”

“Would that we always paid attention to God’s Timeline, for He is wiser than we are,” Sarah replied. Amen, I thought.

I’ve been down with a head cold for the past couple of days and have had to suspend some activities. But even though I would prefer to keep ‘on schedule,’ I’ve already explored some avenues of curiosity that I might have missed if I hadn’t slowed down.

Creativity happens when I seemingly slack off, retire if you will; the doors to imagination swing open, even by means of a head cold.  When I’m feeling a little better and my will reasserts itself, I’ll get up from the sofa, use what I’ve gained during my downtime and finish the essay draft I’m writing – attending to God’s Timeline.

What do you do when you have a cold?

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