How to Live When the End Is Near — Deeper Story

It happens to all of us. I’m here to tell you, this is the truth: we all get old, some of us a lot older than others. And that day is here for me. Sigh. Truth be told, I still don’t quite believe it! You can start this little reflection here and then follow me over to one of my favorite places in the entire web, A Deeper Story.

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Four generations on Christmas Eve, 2014

This is a big year for me, one of those milestone numbers. It’s the year that my 3rd grade self decided would be the year I became really old. This is that year — 2015. I was born on January 23, 1945 (which means my birthday shorthand reads like this: 1-23-45. My father was convinced I’d grow up to be a mathematician, just like he was — but I fooled him. Big time.)

 

Yes, this is the year — in fact, this is the month — that I turn 70.

 

But I have something important to tell you right here: that number no longer feels old (as in decrepit). Yes, it does feel old (as in a lot of years), but inside this lined face and underneath this white hair? I feel like I’m about 45.

 

Aging is a strange phenomenon. The longer you live, the further out ‘old’ becomes. When I was 20, I thought 50 was ancient. But when I was 50, and still two years away from a new job that would keep me busy for a decade and a half, I thought 70 sounded old.

 

Now I’m 70 and you know what? 90 sounds ‘old’ to me these days.

 

So as I listened to the end-of-the-year sermon last month, a sermon focused on two of my favorite characters in Luke’s birth narrative of Jesus, I thanked God for every one of these years. For the privilege of walking around on this planet, with people that I love nearby, good work still to do and relatively good health and humor to enjoy. And it was the old codgers — Simeon and Anna — who helped me to say that ‘thank you,’ loud and clear.

 

You remember those two, right? The oldsters who were in the temple in Jerusalem? The ancient ones, the ones who had been waiting for the ‘comfort’ of Israel to show up. The ones who spent their days praying and hoping and looking, both of them described as righteous, devout and faithful. Those two may have been old, but they were still paying attention to the zeitgeist, they were two strong and deeply centered people, ever on the look-out for God’s promised one. . .

 

 

Come on over to ADS to reflect with on all three old people . . . Simeon, Anna and me!

 

 

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Comments

  1. Gwen Acres says:

    Yes, 90 is my ‘old’ too! I will share being 70 with you for a few weeks, until I am 71 in March. I love how Simeon and Anna wove into your story. On the lookout for the promised one… that occupies more and more of my time and thought as I age.

    A dear old lady at The Samarkand would respond to my question of how she was with, ‘ still vertical ‘ !
    So Happy Birthday Diana!!

  2. Happy early birthday, Diana! My eldest turnes 18 today, so he missed sharing yours by one day. I truly get this, what you say about the older you get the further out “old” gets. And, if seems to me like the older I get, the younger I feel inside. There are still so many things I want to do with this one life. This helps me understand and give thanks for the eternal life that is ours in Christ.

    • 18??? How can this be?? Oh, my, time flies! I don’t know if I feel younger inside, but I don’t feel older — at least not in the way I imagined might happen. I’ve now added the links and you can follow them to the entire essay if you missed it.

  3. Pat Peterson says:

    Oh, may this birthday and your new year bring you His very good thing!

    I am relatively new to your blog, being cautious where I spend my time and who I receive spiritual counsel from. But I now feel you are my friend, I enjoy looking at your beautiful, joyful face and find the truth and comfort of our Lord in your words. Also I was interested in your blog because I first moved to Santa Barbara not long after you were born. So your photography of the area brings back memories I was seven and a half. Yes, I’m including half years in my age again!

    Blessings as you continue your ministry to our Jesus!

    Pat

    • Thanks so much for these kind words, Pat – I’m delighted you’re finding it worth your time to stop by here. Someday, you’ll have to come back to SB and check it out. It surely is a beautiful place.

  4. Happy Birthday, Pastor of mine. :-). 70 is a wonderful age and your analogies and outlook are meaningful, upbeat, and fun. My 77th year will end in February and am looking at the changes 78 will, most likely, bring. Some changes will be hard, some frightening, and some will be fun and exciting. I hope that your 70th year brings you to Texas. Tea awaits !!!

  5. I turn 60 this year, Diana, and I still think I’m 30! (Lol!) I think it is so true that we are as “young as we feel.” And when God’s grace fills our hearts with joy, we can rejoice with the abandonment of a child.
    Happy and blessed birthday, my friend!

    • Rejoicing with abandonment sounds grand, Martha! And congrats on the big 6-0 whenever it happens! I’ve added the links to this page now, in case you didn’t find your way over to A Deeper Story earlier.

  6. Happy Birthday, Diana! I’ll catch up with you in a few months and you’ve given me encouraging, wise words to think on in the meantime.

    • Thank you, Elaine. Always happy to see you here – and the links to the rest of this piece are now in place, in case you couldn’t find them earlier.

  7. Sandy Hay says:

    I’m a bit more than 1year behind you . I feel like you were speaking right at me. Perspective….Amazing how it changes every year HAPPY BIRTHDAY Diana

  8. This is good for me to read. I was not bothered by age until I turned 66 and qualified for Medicare. I turn 67 in a few days. I am in a place where it feels old and like maybe there isn’t much left. I think this will change as I move through this season, but for now, it’s been more difficult than i ever anticipated it would be. I will continue to follow you reflections as you move through life a few years ahead of me.

    • I recognize those feelings, Carol, and sometimes share them. Getting old is a privilege not shared by all of us, so I’m working on being grateful!

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