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Everything is New in May

Alles neu macht der Mai – (German Folk Song)

By Marianne Flori

Note from Brian:

This month’s Blue Spigot post is written by Marianne Flori, a close friend from faraway Switzerland. Our friendship was deepened twenty-four years ago, when the Holy Spirit prompted me to pray for her. It’s a remarkable story and the subject of a prior Blue Spigot post. 

Marianne and I send email greetings around our birthdays in the Spring and Fall. In our exchange last month, she sent me a picture of the new pastor of her church, embedded on page one of her church newsletter Eckstein, the German word for Cornerstone.

On that page I also saw another photo, one of a horse with familiar colorings. I wondered if it was Marianne’s beloved horse named Estoril. Sure enough, the featured newsletter article had her name at the bottom. With the help of Google, I was able to read a choppy but understandable translation of her article from German into English.

I received her permission to publish it this month. She consented, but first cleaned up the translation with help from Reudi and Trix, her brother and sister-in-law. It’s a refreshing and practical example of what it means to walk daily with God. Enjoy!

Everything Is New in May

Indeed two years ago I wondered how accurately this May folk song would describe my future life.

May 1, 2022, was the first day of my retirement. My time as a secretary in our church community had ended. My last editorial meeting for our community periodical was over, and my last newsletter “Eckstein” had gone to the printer. I had handed in the keys to the community building and to my office. I was moved deeply, filled with gratitude and surprise by the warm, loving farewell given me by my work team.   

I was looking forward to a new freedom that lay ahead of me, but I also felt a great deal of wistfulness. Many things would change and be different from now on, but a lot would remain the same as before. How would I experience that?

Now I can look back on my first two years as a “young retiree”. An unforgettable trip to Rome, organized by two of our pastors, which took place in May 2022, was a wonderful starting point to the new chapter in my life. I had been looking forward to this for a long time.

It was followed by the first summer. I enjoyed having more time for my family, for traveling with my husband, spending quality time with our horse Estoril, and also having more time for myself.

With Estoril on a spring ride.

There is always something to discover and admire along the way

After a break of several years, I now sing in the church choir again. Also, I donate some hours of my newfound free time to visiting elderly in a retirement home. In return my life is enriched by these visits and encounters as well.

The reading group that was launched in our parish two years ago continues to open new worlds in literature for my husband and myself. The discussions about the books we have read are always exciting and rewarding, both at home and in our monthly group meetings.

But this new phase of my life also had some challenges in store. My brothers and I accompanied our mother Hanni through the last period of her life. She died at age 96 in December 2022. The awareness that we are now those who represent the oldest generation in the family still takes some getting used to.

Then a person very close to me went through a severe depression after retiring from work. Thank God I was spared such an experience myself, but witnessing the suffering of this loved one was very hard to bear.

There are also lighter touches: Recently, when I chose to remain standing in a fairly crowded bus, a younger woman offered me her seat. A little surprised I politely declined. Oh, it must be my gray hair, I thought. Do I really look so old or was the woman just particularly attentive and considerate? Her gesture was touching. I find getting older can be a challenge and a wonderful gift at the same time.

Trusting in God’s support and with great gratitude for everything He has given me in life so far, I am looking forward to the future.

May Spring, as a symbol of God’s miraculous power of creation and renewal, delight you and give you courage in challenging times. I wish you all an enjoyable month of May.

Marianne Flori, May 2024


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