It’s funny that a person grows older in such a way that they suddenly look in the mirror and think, “Who is that old lady and where did she come from?” There doesn’t seem to be any gradual run-up to old; no practice slopes, so to speak. One day, there you are at the top of the hill and the only way to go is down.
Sure, there’s the first grey hair, the first wrinkle, the first creak as you get up out of a chair, but generally speaking, that’s just the thin edge of the wedge. Deep down, you really don’t believe that you’re going to get old – at least not the kind of ‘old’ that your parents reached.
You really believe that you’ll be the one who beat all the odds. The lady who runs marathons until her last gasp; the woman who manages her business until the day she dies; the gal who causes people to gasp in amazement when she admits her true age. “No really – I thought you were much younger than that. Wow!” Yup, we all think that way. Old age is for someone else, not you.
But the sad reality is that for the majority of us, old age is simply a fact of life. It has nothing to do with the number of your birthday or the state of your mind. It has everything to do with an aging body that is now making you pay for all those years when you ignored its complaints. Knees give way, hips break, stomachs rebel, lungs fill up, eyes film over and various other bits cease to function at all. As someone once said, “If I’d known I was going to get this old, I would have taken better care of myself.”
Now, all those things that you did without thought have become small marathons and even smaller victories. Getting up on a kitchen chair to change the light bulb, pulling out the bed to clean out behind the head board, carrying in three bags of groceries, washing all the windows, mowing the lawn. You know you can’t take anything for granted anymore – just because you used to be able to do it doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to do it now.
I have a theory that our bodies age so that our spirits can finally be freed to spend more time in pursuit of God. We can pray more. We can meditate longer. We can seek God in new ways. Our old age becomes our Age of Enlightenment as we step closer to God where we can hear the ‘still, small voice.’
I guess you could say that as we age, the best is yet to come.
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