Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A More Fulfilling Retirement

Anita Morrison mentors women in prison through a ministry at Northside Christian Church.
Photo: Melissa Donald

Anita Morrison of New Albany, Ind., worked for 49 years. She spent the last 37 of those years at American Commercial, which suddenly downsized and from which she found herself abruptly retired at the age of 66.

“I didn’t know what I would do with myself when I did retire. I was devoted to my work,” says Morrison, who had put off retirement for fear of how she would support herself and what she would do with her time.

“You don’t wake up one morning and think, ‘I will go talk to people in jail when I retire,’” she says, but that’s exactly what she did.

Morrison got deeply involved at Northside Christian Church after not being a part of any church for 50 years. Her first involvement at Northside was through a Bible study. This eventually led to serving communion for two consecutive months and greeting on the third month — a pattern she continues today.

Her involvement with Northside has grown to serving throughout the community. Morrison’s passion lies within mentoring through the Jesus Cares at Exit Zero Homeless Ministry and especially with the Residents Encounter Christ Jail Ministry. The REC Ministry gives Morrison an opportunity to mentor women in prison in hopes of helping them leave their former lives behind.
“Some of these women don’t know God, and some of them know Him but don’t know anything about Him,” she says, tearing up at the thought. After visiting these women in prison, Morrison continues to mentor them through letters and keeping in touch with their families.

“I didn’t think this is what I would be doing during retirement, but it is immeasurably more fulfilling,” she says. “There is a quote on a poster I love that says, ‘Working for God doesn’t pay much, but the benefits are awesome.’”

Read more about people who are living an alternative retirement in our spring issue of Today's Transitions (page 16).

– Torie Temple

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