The End of Work

A reflection on retirement, what it means to work, and what will become of our work when we’re done.

Forty years with my hand to the plow.

Suddenly it’s over now.

Sometimes I don’t know how

I made it.

See, a part of me

will always be

in the soil

in which I toiled.

I buried me

so you could be


to live and breathe

without constraint.

It’s not a complaint.

You are my joy,

my three boys,

but don’t forget—

let this sit:

your path was laid

a pleasant way

by countless days

of self-denying,

a silent striving

toward crucifying.

What I’ve planted deep

is yours to reap

and yours to keep.

Yet, let this be extracted:

love begs to be enacted.

What’s given isn’t subtracted.

A paradox protracted—


in a coming harvest.

Hope in resurrection,

Work, an embodied reflection,

despite my imperfections,

of eternal perfections

still yet to come

when the sum

of all I’ve done

will be returned

to me unearned

by the Gracious One.