Echoes of the Heart: Retirement

Religious By Dr. Jeffrey Frantz, Pastor at M. Lakes Congregational Church Wednesday, January 1, 2014

(Contact Dr. Frantz on the web at 


Retirement and a new pace of life. Well, after forty-one years of local church ministry, I am retiring at the end of 2013. I turn 70 in mid-2014 and decided it was time. 


My spouse Yvette and I plan on remaining in the Miami Lakes area, where we have lived since May of 2000. With retirement in sight, I have two initial observations: First, planning one's retirement is a lot of work (I've certainly learned that these past six months). 


Secondly, I have lots of plans nestled in hopes and expectations for the years ahead. With the above in mind, I have also decided to take a year-long sabbatical from my "Echoes" column in The Miami Laker. Editor Roger Reece and I have agreed to re-evaluate after my year off and see where we go from there. So, this will be my last article, at least for a little while. 


I have enjoyed immensely the opportunity to do the column for these past 13 years, and to share my reflections, observations and insights on a wide range of topics. Please know that the comments and compliments of so many of you have meant a lot to me and will continue to inspire my pen as I enter this new season of my life. Life in Miami Lakes continues to be good, a rich multicultural and multilingual adventure for all of us. 


Interestingly enough, Wayne Slaton became mayor about the time I launched my Laker column and now, Wayne Slaton (much to my delight) has returned as mayor once again. As the world turns, we say. 


Plans for the future. Once I announced my retirement, I've been impressed at how genuinely happy people seem to be for me. Perhaps we all have the sense that life is fleeting, that we only have so much time, and that it's important to do what we need to do with our lives. What I do need to do is spend more time with my two wonderful daughters and their adorable families, which include our four grandchildren. 


For Yvette and me, what this means is we will be spending more time in England, where Natasha and her family live, and in the Boston area, where Erica resides with her family unit. And I admit, it will be nice not to have to always rush back to tend to some responsibility or commitment in the local church. In this same vein, Saturday nights will be a whole new experience for us. 


No more rising at dark to be off to the church on Sunday mornings. While I will miss the special times in worship and other church-life observances (I will certainly miss the many wonderful people in my congregation), I will look forward to a slower pace and a new freedom to go with the flow and to actually not worry about deadlines. I look forward to living again in France (where we spent 14 weeks during a sabbatical leave in 2010) where I plan on making significant strides with my French. 


I look forward, as well, to getting back to California (we moved here from San Diego in 2000) where Yvette and I spent most of our lives, and to catch up with old friends out west. I also look forward to writing, although I'm not sure, yet, what form the writing will take. 


Hope to see you about town! My guess is I will continue to run in to many of you at Shula's Athletic Club where I work out three of four times a week, or at Einstein's Bagel where I like to stop by for a morning coffee and bagel while I read the morning paper and check out current happenings on my iPad. If you see me, wherever, please pass by to say hello! I love people and I love conversation about family, community life and things about things that matter. 


Through it all, I continue to believe that life is good and that the African teaching, Ubuntu, has got it right: I am what I am because of who we all are together.