Posts Tagged ‘#aging’

This weekend and last are such a contrast.

Last weekend (the Easter weekend) held for us two church services, a birthday party, a family dinner and not much else. Our down time was spent watching BCDs (British Crime Dramas), playing with our puppy and few household chores.

This weekend we have spent all of Saturday doing chores around the house to knock a few things off the legendary to do list. The power washer was in full force, paint was utilized, the garage and storage area of our basement organized, deck furniture cleaned and put into summer position. And that is only one day!

As we were outside we got to meet a neighbor. She is in her seventies, a widower who is involved in local theatre, loves gardening and is a sun-seeker (I think we might be kindred sprits). Her smile is warm and welcoming and her eyes sparkle.

“When you do what you love,” she said of her late in life discovery of joy in acting, “life is just better.”

I continued considering her words the rest of the day and into this new morning. But, I also considered them in relation to something my hubby said of those who are aging,

“There are those who are living to die,
while others are dying to live.”

Last weekend was a good one, a mix of peopling and rest, but … maybe too much rest. I remember waking last Tuesday and my body ached … from doing nothing. This weekend I have kibitzed and laughed with my neighbors, moved heavy things, painted a table, swept and cleaned. I love doing these things, I am confident in doing them. My body is a bit achy this morning, but … I feel good! Progress was made, things got done.

I realized this morning that movement is key to keep this body feeling better … sitting still, though good for a bit, will not prevent the aches and stiffness associated with a moving-beyond-midlife body.

The same is for our minds. It is not healthy to sit still with thoughts for too long. Pain from mulling over our worries and sorrows can steal life from our souls. We cannot benefit from sitting still with our pain and struggles. We need to face problems that we can solve, to stretch our minds from problem to solution (whether it is arranging furniture, deciding on a paint color for a table or doing a crossword or jigsaw puzzle). Our minds need variety, engagement, the ability to do things that feed our souls, that we are confident in doing.

I want to be dying to live … all the days, every breath of my life, because life is just better that way.

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13


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Reflection of one’s life can be prompted by many things … birthdays do it for me …



I had one this week, a birthday. There was cake, and a brought-in dinner, and family, and calls, and cards and messages. They were all fodder for reflection. So were my aching muscles from a week-long mini renovation to our kitchen and sunroom (painting, changing lighting, installing flooring, etc.) … thank goodness for pain relievers!

and I reflect …

It is fall here, on my springtime birthday. The autumn of my life. Autumn demands reflection.

So, as the daffodils brighten the planters outside my doors, I think about how short their lives are, yet how they bring beauty to this world.

What if this were my final earthly birthday?

The thought crosses my mind, pausing, sinking into my mind, my aching muscles. It lingers, like the scent of the cut daffodils in a vase, that I’d moved to another spot. Reminding me of their presence, even after they were gone from that room.

Will I leave a beautiful scent? Will I leave something good? Even after I am gone, no longer present in the room?

How a mind can wander, can go to unexpected places.

And so, I reflect. Looking back in my mind’s eye at the life I have lived, those whose lives have intersected my own.

I thought of the well wishes of friends on social media accounts. I am so blessed to have such a great and varied group of humans to call friends. Some going back to elementary school, others I met just a few months ago. Some with whom faith is shared. Some connections through our kids. Or my hubby. Or work. Or through this blog. Some who I connect with daily, others whom connection happens just this once or twice a year. To have such a great earthly cloud of witnesses is all privilege.

I thought of the events of my life. My marriage, births of children, moves to different communities, deaths, celebrations, jobs, churches, joys and sorrows … the blessings and apparent curses intermingled in a such a way that each one is dependent on the others. In the end, all are blessings, for all move us here, to now.

I thought of my walk with my God. How I can look back and see the through-line of of his grace, his persistent pursuit of my soul. I can see his fingerprints on my life … from earliest beginnings until today. I can also see my, often, lackadaisical pursuit of him and where that has often altered my direction in ways I regret.

I see how what was planted in the beginnings of my life has grown. The flowers that have bloomed, the challenges, when conditions were tough. But, I also see that through these years of life and living, no moment of my life has ever been without the presence and plan of God.

So, what if this was my last earthly birthday?

Well, there is only one response that comes to mind. The same as Paul, in Philippians 1:20-21 :

I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. 

It’s a win-win situation. Now, I am not peering through my closet, picking out coffin clothes. Just saying that as long as God is with me (and his word says that he will all the days of my life), whether I live or die, I win.

In Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Mr. Tumnus explains, “It is winter in Narnia, and has been for ever so long…. always winterbut never Christmas.” For me, these may be my autumn years of this earthly life, but there is always something blooming … it is always spring in my soul.

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While chatting with a friend recently, she told me a story that I was certain must have been a tale, for I simply struggled to believe it. A young woman she knew found wrinkles so unappealing that she was reticent to smile … ever! My friend had never seen this young woman smile, for fear that the temporary creases formed on the skin would permanently scar her perfect skin.

Just a couple days before this conversation, hubby and I got to wander around a local home and garden show. Many businesses were there, promoting their wares, some more aggressive than others. A lady caught my eye and offered a sample of a serum that would decrease the appearance of facial lines. I was invited to sit on her stool and she would apply the serum. After she applied it, she then used a small, hand-held fan to dry it. She was right … I could see that the lines around the eye with the serum had faded. I looked at the image, comparing one eye to the other, then looked a the sales person and said,

“I see the difference, but … I like my wrinkles.
I have earned each and every one”

(and that was before I heard the price was over $200 for a small vial).

I like some of my physical flaws … the ones that were attained by hard work, personal sacrifice, evidence of having experienced the blessing of still breathing in the fifth decade … the stretch marks, the grey hairs, the wrinkles on my face.

I don’t want to avoid these evidences of aging, of living. I want to accept them, to embrace them as trophies of a life lived … smiling all the way.

You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.”

Psalm 39:5

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For some birthdays are frightening, depressing or discouraging. This reality has made the makers of lotions, surgeries and self help books wildly wealthy.

Aging has never been a thorn in my flesh. Birthdays come and go, as do wrinkles, coarse hair (covered by my lovely stylist) … and, speaking of hair, I no longer pluck my eyebrows, but I am constantly discovering them on my chin (often long enough to put in a ponytail by the time I notice them).

For me, the greys can still be covered, the wrinkles make me smile and the hairs on my chinny chin chin … they get plucked.

I have a hope for my future, alive or dead, and an appreciation for each moment I have breathed.

Don’t get me wrong, if I were given a fatal diagnosis, I would sob my eyes out and I would feel fear and sorrow. But death is not my greatest fear as I rapidly move through this autumn of my life.

My greatest angst about aging is quite simple, that …

I am running out of time.

Time to do all the things, travel to all the places, spend time with the people, try the new experiences, share the love of God, time to live … to really, fully, intentionally, live this one magnificent and glorious gift of a life that I have been given.

I don’t want to waste a moment!

Sometimes the urgency within me to do all the things resembles one who scurries in a state of constant activity powered by something deep within.

But, now in my fifties there is a new factor that is irritating me … fatigue. This fatigue does not whisper, take a break, but stops me in my tracks, holding my mind and body ransom so that I no longer can do that one more thing. This only increases my passion to not waste the days, the hours, the moments I have been given.

“Lord, life is going by so fast!
It frightens me unless I remember your eternity.
We are as rootless as tumbleweeds
and will be blown about all our lives unless you are our dwelling place.
In you we are home.
What I have in you I can never lose and will have forever.
I praise you for this unfathomable comfort.

Tim Keller

These words of Keller stopped me the other day. They reminded me that my purpose is not just doing, but being.

They are the truthful assurance of eternity, for those of us who have submitted to the will of God. They are the reminder that it is in Him we have our foundation, our roots. They are the reminder that even during times of fatigue, we are with Him and He is with us and in that here we also have purpose.

“I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills His purpose for me.”
Psalm 57:2

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