The past year has seen a change of pace for me and I’ve spent some time wondering what my purpose is. I know that I’m not alone in having existential angst around ‘retirement’ age. After many years of a very busy job in Information Technology, I’m now able to do more of what had been a parallel stream – that of a part-time caterer – in addition to having time for galleries and catching up with friends and life. Catering can be frenetic at an event but I’ve plenty of time for preparation and that provides me with an excellent opportunity for thought.

I’m not one of those people who knew when they were young what they wanted to do in life. I did not dream of being an astronaut or a brain surgeon. Careers advice at University consisted of a brief interview with an advisor who, in effect, said as you’re a mathematician, you should become an accountant. I definitely knew that was not what I wanted.

I’ve loved cooking since I was a teenager and it’s very good to use that passion during the week to provide some necessary income in early retirement. Much more importantly, I’m finally realising that it can also be part of my giving to this community. A simple bread and cheese lunch for meetings of the Disability Advisory Group allows us fully to be companions as we break bread together. Conducting part of the meeting around a meal table seems to enable a deeper level of discussion.

Perhaps I’m slow, but I needed someone else to point out that hospitality is part of my ministry. We all have gifts to bring to build up the body of Christ. I’m realising that it is about being more fully myself.

Jeff Claxton