A clarity of thought and feeling comes upon me these days regarding what has become, of it’s own volition, the transition into a new stage of life. Today I turn 65. In the last few years, the physical evidence of aging has grown impossible to deny.
I remember one day catching sight of my forearm turning, and seeing for the first time, tiny crepey wrinkles across my arm, just like the ones my beloved grandmother had. In that moment, I suffered a rush of fear. Losing my youth, in my culture, meant losing my “voice,” my beauty, my social relevance, and even my significance.
I faced the truly horrible fate that befalls so many women, becoming a “cute” old lady. I immediately went on a nutritional crash program, detoxing and loading with every anti-aging nutrient I could find. To no avail.
My skin stubbornly refused to return to its earlier days, becoming instead thin and delicate, not the resilient stuff I remember from when I was a woman beset with the rigorous demands of childbirth. And my hair continued to do its part by growing white. Time was marking me with its inexorable advance.
Grasping at last the futility of resisting the irresistible forces of life, I surrendered. If our great sun could not escape the cycle of time, how, or even more importantly, WHY, should I?
Certain there was some hidden goodness to be found, I made an effort to get outside of my youth worshiping culture and seek the cloaked miracle. In the last few months I have found it. Slowly I enjoy a growing insight into the goodness of this natural event.
I remember the great love I had for my grandmother. Like me she was a tiny, round woman. Her arms and lap were warm pillows and her love, and wisdom, and steadfast faith in Jesus were a fence around my troubled life. Though immaculate and neat as the proverbial pin, she was not concerned with how she “looked,” or if she was retaining her youth, or Lord help us! her sex appeal! I want so much to be a “pillow” for my precious grandchildren, and a fence of faith against their troubles too.
Now certainly a tip of the hat to any one who is able retain their youth. But it’s eventually only temporary. Then what? Mourning? I have decided I am not only comfortable with the approach of “old age,” I welcome it. There is no way to barricade ourselves from this natural event, and I believe with every ounce of my being that a loving and benign Intelligence is behind all the rhythms of life. So it behooves me to rise above the cultural chatter and find the empowering Truth we have lost to our ever-intensifying obsession with youth.
There is a great freedom in being liberated from the fevers of my youth…thanks to God they are behind me now! What is available to me of late, such as never before, is a fresh strength of focus within my spiritual life. As I prepare to enter the last laps of my journey, I fly fast now, unfettered by the turbulent emotions of my younger days. Relief and release emerge, endowing me with purpose I’ve not been free to know before.
My body is getting older, wearing out, while I, who resides therein, am becoming acquainted with the gifts of wisdom, loving detachment, and focus. I figure the Good God may grant me at most another 15 to 20 years. A legacy I hope to leave my children and grandchildren is observing the grace that flows from embracing each stage of life. When the fires that burned in youth cool, something is revealed in the quiet backdrop, a surprising experience of Self. I discover with delight, I truly suffer no desire to live past than my allotted 4 score and 10.