A Love Story — for SheLoves

Theirs is a love story that not many remember these days. One of them has been gone from this plane for 10 years; the other has no memory of ever being married, despite their 63 years together. So it’s my story to tell now . . . you can start this sweet tale here and click over to SheLoves to continue it. It’s a good one for Valentine’s Day weekend, don’t you think?

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Celebrating 50 years on the island of Kauai in 1991

On paper, they were seriously mismatched. He, the brilliant, favored son of a well-educated southern family, she the hard-scrapple middle child of working class Canadians, each family migrating to the Los Angeles area before their kids were old enough to remember anyplace else.

Ben’s family was firmly ensconced in a downtown Methodist church, teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, providing leadership in a multitude of ways. Ruth was a church orphan, whose parents dropped her at the front door each Sunday.

They came up through the youth group separately — he, four years ahead of her — but each knew of the other. She had a steady boyfriend by the time she was in high school and dated him for four years, most of their life together centered around that old brownstone church.

Ben was gifted musically and intellectually, but very reserved, even shy. Ruth was vivacious, smart, mischievous, funny and a natural leader. He stood on the sidelines of her life for a while, becoming increasingly smitten. After Ruth’s early relationship ended, they gravitated toward each other, each of them happy to discover the ways their differences were complementary.

The rest, as they say, is history. They ‘went together’ for several years, as he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UCLA; she matriculated there, but dropped out when family funds evaporated. By then, they were committed to marriage, the US had entered WWII, and her folks saw no reason for her to get a degree. She regretted it the rest of her life.

He failed to pass the physical for the draft, so began to teach in San Diego at a small military academy. In 1941, they married in a friend’s garden, honeymooned in Laguna Beach, and settled into community life at the school.

Their love for one another grew deep and sturdy, but it was never particularly easy, especially during those early years. His family didn’t really approve of her — his mother took to her bed for a full week when they announced their engagement and wore black to their wedding. Each of their families of origin had their own unique dysfunctions and patterns and, as is true for all of us, the wounds of childhood were real and lasting.

He was the ‘show-kid,’ his skill at the piano and in the classroom regularly put on display by a pushy mother. She was the caretaker, intervening at a very young age when her dad came home drunk and became verbally and even physically abusive to everyone in the family.

He kept things in, she let them out, often in a big and dramatic way. Learning to communicate, to deal with anger issues, to build their own individual self-confidence — these were issues that didn’t go away.

Hop on over to SheLoves to finish this story and to share with all of us a love story that’s important in your own life.

31 Days of Aging Gracefully: Day 27 — Enjoying Family

 

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Birthdays are a great excuse to get together with family, don’t you think? Our oldest granddaughter turned ten this week and she picked the restaurant for a fun dinner out with both sets of grandparents.

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Earlier in the month, we celebrated with these two — one turning 17, the other 10. 
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We’ve also started something new this fall — SOCCER, with our youngest grandgirl. So most Saturdays, we’re there, on the sidelines, trying to be encouraging as five 5-year-olds figure out what to do with their feet on a 1/4 sized field. They’re so dang cute!

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All but one of our eight were here at our new home to celebrate those two guys’ birthdays and I caught them all, just as the sun went down. I love the bare feet and silly grins. Each one is unique, each one is remarkable, each one is lovely, interesting, quirky. Maybe most important, they are all kind — to each other and to the adults in their lives, too. It’s a joy to be with them and we plan to take every opportunity offered to us to be together. The older two are moving out into full-on adulthood now, beginning relationships, jobs, making choices that could foreseeably impact them for several decades, if not the rest of their lives. Not sure how long we’ll be welcomed into their journey, but we want to be open and ready for whatever invitation might arise.

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And, of course, central to all the rest of those family connections is this one — the one that started it all. And we want to pay attention to that relationship, too. Sometimes that gets harder to do as we age. We’re used to each other, sometimes stuck in ruts, not as likely to take risks or venture out into the new and different. But we’re workin’ on it. At our advanced ages, you do have to exercise a little caution, though, right??? Well, yeah. A little. Smile.

How are you enjoying your family these days? Is it easy to do or a challenge? 

31 Days of Aging Gracefully: Day 23 — Being Honest

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I took my mama off campus for lunch this week, the first time in many weeks I’ve been able to do that. She has tired more easily and so have I, so we’ve settled into the routine of putting her into the smallest of her unit’s wheel chairs and slowly walking over to the charming cafe that is now a part of her retirement community. 

But the weather was glorious, and if El Nino comes to pass, it will not long be that way (thanks be to God! We SO need the rain!), so we went. 

And it was lovely, and sad, and good, and hard. One thing I’ve committed to doing, even though many dementia experts discourage it, is telling my mom the truth. Unlike Dick’s mom, my mother knows that things are not right inside her head, and occasionally — if we’ve sat together quietly long enough, she will ask me about it

And I always tell her the truth.

“How come I don’t remember that you are my daughter? How come I don’t remember being married? How come? Why can’t I think?”

So I tell her.

“Well, Mom, it’s nothing you’ve done, it’s just something that happens sometimes when brains get old. Yours doesn’t work like it once did, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t still you. And I’m here. I can be your memory for you, okay?”

And she is always relieved. Yes, I still get the same, question-of-the-day-whatever-it-might-happen-to-be from her, but she is calmer, steadier, more restful when we’ve talked about this situation as honestly as we can, given her limitations now and my own inarticulate attempts to explain the unexplainable.

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She is so very dear. And so very lovely. And I love her so very much. Yesterday, she asked, “Was I a good mother to you?” And I was moved to tears to tell her how very good a mother she was, to me and to my brothers. 

“Brothers? I have a son?”

“Yes, Mom, you have one son still living.”

“Oh, I’d love to see him.”

I remind her that he calls her on the phone, that he lives very far away and that he’s dealing with some health issues of his own. And she is peaceful.

In ten minutes (or less) she will have forgotten all about it.

Yesterday’s through line question centered around being sure she had my phone number. I told that she does, and when we got her back to her room, I showed her where it is. Of course, she can no longer read it, can no longer use the phone herself. But telling her the truth somehow eases her dis-ease. And if I can do that, then I am happy to be her truth-teller.

It dawned on me the other day that I am currently the only person in her life who sees my mother.  Who sees her for ALL of who she is, who she is now, and who she once was. I’m it. And that makes me feel more lonely than I could have imagined.

31 Days of Aging Gracefully: Day 14 — Valuing the Old

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Of course today’s topic is one close to my heart. I am graced to have my 94-year-old mama still living. I myself am now 70. I am personally familiar with old things. And old people.

But you know what? We are not a society that particularly values old anything, maybe most especially people. That is painting with far too broad a brush, I own that. But there are times when it surely feels that way. I’m not sure it’s entirely intentional. We get busy, our lives are full, there is more energy to be found in the company of younger folk. I get it, I’m guilty of it, I know it.

But.

The sixteen people who live in my mother’s Alzheimer’s unit were once thriving, contributing members of society, living lives rich in friendship and family. Now, many of them seldom see any young face other than that of their closest caregiver — the one who is paid to be there.

I myself am deeply, DEEPLY grateful for those paid friends. My mother’s life is incredibly richer and safer because of the place where she lives. And for a long list of reasons — most of them to do with my own emotional and physical limits — I see my mom only about every five or six days. For years, I called her nightly on the telephone. Now, that is too confusing for her, so I stopped doing that this summer. It was both a relief and an opening for yet another kind of grief, deep within me.

I love my mother very much. I miss my mother very much.

Yet she is still here.

And the pieces of her that remain have been lovely to see for the last two years or so. Just in the past two weeks, however, I have seen a deepening level of confusion and ‘lostness,’ which come yoked with an exponentially deeper sense of panic that permeates almost all of our ‘conversation’ of late. Three days ago, she was frightened to use the bathroom before we left for lunch, sure that someone was going to get her wet (she now hates the shower.) And she insisted that she had never been to the Cafe before, though we have been there at least once each week for the last six months.

“Are you sure it was me you took here?”

“Yes, Mom. I know you. It was you. You are Ruth Gold, right?”

“Yes, I am. But there must be another Ruth Gold because I’ve never been here before,” she said in a frightened, trembling voice.

I patted her arm, told her I was going inside to order our lunch and left her, sitting at the counter, peering at the view with a troubled look on her face.

Seven or eight minutes later, I returned with her diet coke in hand and told her the cheeseburger would be coming soon. She turned and looked at me, much calmer, and said with conviction, “I think that other woman must have left.”

Clearly, she had been thinking about our earlier conversation, something she is generally unable to do. Something about it hit her deep inside, requiring her to ponder and try and figure out how she could be so lost. Her conclusion was unbearably sad to hear.

Yet something deep within me resonated strongly with that so-sad sentence, that oh-so -carefully prepared sentence. Because she was right, you see. That other woman has indeed left, never to return this side of heaven.

And oh, I miss her so.

The Surprising Nature of Grief

He was in his late 50’s, I’m guessing. Salt and pepper hair and mustache, thick black shoes, Bermuda shorts and the usual bright red apron. I was at Home Depot, purchasing something or other for the work we’re doing on our new home, and I noticed him, cheerfully helping customers through the checkout process.

He was kind, with a peaceful, even happy expression on his face. I could see him from where I stood waiting in line, and I remember thinking, “That guy is one of the good ones. Yeah, the shoes with the shorts are a tad nerdy, but what a sweet man!”

I dug into my cart, laid my wares on the conveyor belt and he quickly moved to the end of the island, getting ready to put my purchases into a bag for me. I handed over my credit card, signed my name and turned to thank him as I got ready to exit the store. And that’s when I saw his name tag:

                                                               “KENNETH”

Big black letters, larger than life. And as I saw them, I was startled to hear a great gasping sob erupt from my mouth. The next minute, tears were streaming down beneath my sunglasses as I made my way back to the car.

I had been blindsided by grief, deep and wide.

Kenneth was my youngest brother’s name. The one who died in 2009. A man I’d never met called me early in the morning of October 2nd; he was the manager of Ken’s sober living residence. He’d found my number in my brother’s cell phone and told me tearfully that Ken passed away in his sleep. He was 53 years old.

Oh my, such a sweet man. Troubled, broken, sick and tired, but such a sweet man. I’ve written about him elsewhere, detailing his life of struggle and pain. But that day — that instant in the Home Depot — my thoughts were these:

This could have been my brother.

He would have been so good at a job like this.

Oh, how I miss him! Oh, how sorry I am for all the turmoil he endured! Oh, how I wish I could change it somehow.

But I cannot. I cannot go back in time, much as I might wish to do so. I cannot change one second of his life.

This much, though . . . this much, I can do:

I can acknowledge my own sadness about him.

I can make space for the grief to surprise me, again and again.

I can thank God for Ken every day.

I can pray for his sons and daughter-in-law.

I can remember the best pieces of his story.

I can pay attention to those I meet who remind me of him in some way — size, demeanor, struggle.

I can not be ashamed of the sobs, the tears, the sadness or him. Instead, I can remember him with love and gratitude, accepting him for who he was, warts and all, and rejoice that his suffering is over.

Grief comes in waves, they say. Who knew the tide would still roll after this many years? Sometimes I think I’m ‘used’ to all the death and dying we’ve experienced in our family circle. But I’m not, and — thank God — I never will be. Though it often comes disguised as blessing, especially after a long, difficult illness, death is always our last enemy, a reminder that our time in this sphere is limited and finite. Ah, Lord, I thank you that Ken’s dying was gentle, though his living was harsh.

I miss you, sweet brother of mine. I truly do. 

It Flies By, I Tell You — It FLIES By!

We don’t have any little ones around these days. Our youngest granddaughter, whose name is Lillian (Lilly), started kindergarten yesterday, and I can hardly wrap my mind around that reality. She is so tall, so smart, so much fun!
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Wasn’t it just yesterday that she was this size?

IMG_0439She was just waking from her nap when I snapped this picture, during one of the earliest weeks she was with us after her mama returned to her medical practice. Twice a week for the next two and a half years she came to us — such joy! Having these last two grandchildren — and our only two girls out of eight — near enough to help with childcare has been one of life’s richest gifts during the last nine years.

But this week marks a whole series of turning points in our family circle. Dick & I are in a new-to-us, smaller home (if you want to follow along with our move and settling in process, sign up for my twice-monthly newsletter . . . and get a free eBook, while you’re at it! I send lots of pictures with each letter :-), our eldest grandson is earning his own way as a cinematographer, our second oldest begins his senior year at Pomona College, our 4th starts his senior year of high school, our 5th finishes middle school this year, our 3rd begins to scout colleges for next year’s application process, and our two gifts-in-the-midst-of-great-pain turn TEN this fall.  And, of course, that littlest one . . . well, I’ve already told you, she is no longer so little. 

And the truth is — I celebrate all this forward movement! This is the way it’s designed to be, this life of ours. We move through ages and stages, schools and jobs, relationships and self-awareness. All of these changes are good changes. But. They are changes. Visible and visceral reminders that we’re getting older, that we will not live forever, that we may very well not be around to see the youngest ones move through the transitions that the older ones are already enjoying. 

Our son texted us tonight with a picture of the brand-new, gaping hole in Lilly’s mouth. She lost her first tooth on day two of school. Yet another reminder that time stops for none of us. Try as we might, we have absolutely no control of its passing. None. No matter what the cosmetics industry might try to sell us, aging is inevitable and irreversible. Period.

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Yeah, this is a 70-year-old face, enjoying the company of my three female maternal cousins earlier this month. No one raises an eyebrow when I ask for the senior discount, far too many people offer to hold doors, help with grocery carts, and carry heavy objects. 

But here’s the thing:  I am still here. And I’m glad to be. There were a couple of moments during the year just past when I wasn’t entirely convinced that I would be around for long. Much as I hope for heaven, I am in absolutely no rush to leave earth behind. I love my life, even the rough parts of it. And as long as there are people to love and good work to do, I want to be here, loving and doing. 

Yes, time flies. Those of you younger than 30 will not believe that last sentence. I didn’t either, especially when I had three babies under three and hadn’t slept in days. But hear me when I say it again: it goes by so fast. So live your life. Be present in each moment, see if you can resist the urge to hurry it along, find something to smile about at least once each hour and say thank you without ceasing.

Because if you reach my age, you’ll know this much: ALL OF IT is gift. Pure and simple, life is a gift. If you are blessed to live in a place that is free from war and extreme poverty, even if that place (like this place) is far from perfect, then you are among all people on this planet, truly gifted. Your gender or your age or your skin color or your sexual orientation may make your life more challenging at points. And yes, we all need to become more and more aware of how we each contribute to the ever-present sins of sexism, ageism, racism and homophobia, and we need to speak up for justice, goodness, truth and righteousness wherever and whenever we can.

I do not mean to downplay anyone’s pain and suffering. God knows, I’ve endured some myself and will continue to do so. So please hear me when I say this and know that I am fully cognizant of the struggle that often defines our days. Even so, your life is a gift. To you, to those who love you, to the world where you live, work, play, study, worship, contribute. 

So make the time, set aside the time, carve out the time if you have to — but stop once in a while and just breathe. In and out. And say, ‘thank you, thank you, thank you,’ as you do so. Somehow, that simple act can make all the difference.

Time will still fly by, make no mistake about that. But you’ll see it just a little more clearly as it marches on by you. And you just might find yourself blinking back tears as the beauty of it all spins its iridescent web around your heart.

Easy Does It — SheLoves

When I see the wonderful themes that come from the fine people at SheLoves each month, I am always surprised at what comes to me. This one is no exception. I’m not writing about my mom too much in public these days, but here are the most recent reflections. You can start here and follow this link to finish this piece and join the conversation. Please do!

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The part of my life that needs me to be ‘easy’ right now happens to be the hardest one ever. My mother lives within five miles of our home and turns 94 this month. She loves it when I drop by, she smiles right through the telephone when I call her, she tells me I’m the most wonderful of God’s creatures, even though she is not entirely sure who I am.

Because my mother, in addition to being one of the loveliest women I’ve ever known, also has dementia. Her brain is deteriorating, week by week. She has lost most of her memory, including all 63 years of her marriage to my father, has only very limited mechanical ability of any kind, and more and more often, leaves her sentences hanging in the air after about three words, leaving me to wonder where in the world she was headed. When I am with my mother, what she most needs me to be is relaxed, present, patient, slow.

Too much of the time, I am NONE of those things.

Loving a person with severe dementia means you continually live with a large load of cognitive dissonance. In my head, I know that she cannot understand, cannot remember, and cannot move quickly, either physically or mentally. But with my heart? I want her to be as she once was: fast-witted, funny, vivacious, interesting, well-read, deeply spiritual.

Who she is now. . . is slow. Her brain is losing itself, day by day. Scientists do not yet understand all the complicated mechanisms that make this true, but this much we do know: the part of her brain that remembers things is disintegrating. The part of her brain that understands how things works, how time happens, what she said 30 seconds ago is almost entirely non-functional.

So when I hand her a napkin at lunch, she has no idea what to do with it. I say gently, “Put it in your lap, Mom.” And she moves to pick up the knife and fork that were just wrapped in that napkin, sending them to her lap.

Because she has always had a gift for sociability, and is a natural extrovert, she has maintained a semblance of those characteristics. She has a ‘routine’ that she follows when we are together. Ten times in ten minutes, she asks the same set of rote questions: How is your family? Have you found a church you like? Where is your husband? And the biggest one of all, ever-present: Do you ever think about moving?

“No, Mom,” I always say. “I like it here. We plan to be here until we die.” And some days, I swear to you, I want her to hear and understand that verb. I want her to grasp that she is dying, that I am dying. We are all dying. Most of the time, she hasn’t a clue. . . 

Come on over and join us at SheLoves . . .

Missing Her, Missing Me

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Would it have been better not to try?
Outings are rare and exhausting for me these days,
but this is Mother’s Day, right?
And she is my mom,
my much-loved mom,
my disappearing mom,
losing pieces of herself from minute to minute.

I’ve been at home since the scary thing,
going out only for lab results,

a few groceries here and there.
My husband got the flu very late last week,
something neither of us needs me to deal with,
so we’re both on meds and holding our own.

Maybe I should have just called it a day
and talked to her on the phone.

But she misses me when I’m not there,
even though she has no idea how time passes,
cannot remember that I have been injured,
and doesn’t always know who I am.

She knows that she loves me. That I’m ‘wonderful,’
that I’m important to her.

So I went.
I stayed home from church to do it.
I carried a lovely big hydrangea,
a pretty new scarf.
My brother sent chocolate covered
strawberries, which we enjoyed after
the meal.

After lunch,
I scurried around her room, 

making space for the flowers,
tucking the scarf in a very confused-
looking drawer.

And then we sat down for a visit.

Oh, it was a strange one,
one that stirred deep things in me,
including anger and tears.
Both of those have been lying around,
latent, contained,
for a long while now.
But occasionally, when ignited,
they flare and wound.

Before this stage of the disease,
my mother could often wield her
tongue as a weapon,
implying things with her wry,
sarcastic humor,
startlingly able to make me feel guilty
with just a word or two.

(Why do mothers have such power?
Do I?
Oh, I hope not,
I try not.)

She is restless.
My mother has always been restless.
She would like to move somewhere else,
and who can blame her?
She wants to go back to where she was
before we brought here her,
that fine place south of here,
that place where they would
have locked her into a small unit, 
with no single rooms,
her friends unable to visit easily.

Back then, she and I decided to move her
nearer to me.
And most of the time,
that is reason enough for her.

And I should know by now.
I should know to just 
nod my head and say,
“It’s nice to dream, 
isn’t it, Mom?”

But somedays, I don’t seem to be able to do that.
I want her to understand,
to know why she’s here,
why she needs to be here,
why we’re out of options.

So I told her.
Again.
“Your brain isn’t working like it used to, Mom.
And I am so, so sorry. But this is a good place,
a place where they take care of you well,
and I am so near to you now!”

And then, out of the blue,
this line . . . 

“Well,
I’m just sorry you don’t think

I’m worthwhile.”

And I lost it.

“What?? What did I possibly
say to make you think that?”

“Oh, you didn’t say anything.
I can just tell.”

How could she possibly tell?
She can’t tell the time, the date,
the place, the people.

But this, she could tell?

And then it came,
lancing through me,
soul and sinew:

“You never invited me to your home.”

I threw back at her the myriad times
she has been in our home,
the birthday parties over the years,
the long weekends,
the train trips,
the Christmas Eve services since
she’s moved here.

But I knew.
I knew what she meant.
She meant I never invited her to live here,
to be cared for here.

The very thing she told me
over
and over
and over again that she never wanted

to do.
Ever.

Truth be told, I know myself and our relationship well
enough to know that we would not survive it.

And yet, I carry it with me.
The guilt, the wondering, the heaviness.
To hear her say it literally knocked the
wind right out of me.

Lord, have mercy.
Give me grace to release all of this,
the anger, the guilt, the wondering,
the fear.

All of it.

It does me no good,
and it surely doesn’t help her.

I want to love her without reservation,
and to know she is safe in you.
I don’t want to wallow, waffle or wonder.
I want to feel anchored,
loving, loved.

So this is what I will choose to
remember from our time together today.
Walking from the dining room to her room,
she began to hum under her breath.
‘What ya singing, Mom?” I asked.
“When we walk with the Lord. . .” 
she replied.

And so we sang.
We sang loudly as I moved around her room.
First verse and chorus of that old chestnut,
the one that sums it all up.
Do you know the one?

It’s called, “Trust and Obey.”

Yes, yes.
That is what I will choose to remember
from this Mother’s day celebration.

Please, God.

Only that.

My Mom and Me — a Repost for makesyoumom.com

My friend, Laura Brown, has a wonderful new website dedicated to stories/poems/reflections about mothers and mothering. I’m honored that she chose an older post of mine to feature there today. You can read the entire piece by clicking here.

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My mother, in her heyday, was truly a larger-than-life person.

That hat, for instance.

And the gigantic bow atop my head.
She started those bows when I could barely hold my head up,
ostensibly to announce to the world that this was a female child.
Apparently my baldness led many to believe I was a boy,
and my mom was having none of that!

I was a much-wanted child, long-awaited, and adored by my dad.
My relationship with my mom was more complicated,
very different from the easy, quiet companionship I enjoyed with my father.
Part of that is because my mother was a flaming extrovert –
easily the most socially gifted person I’ve ever known.
My father was quiet, reserved, careful.
Mom was glamorous, dramatic, a loud laugher and a loud crier.
She was also an extraordinarily creative homemaker and hostess,
usually operating on the slimmest of budgets.
She set beautiful tables, told wonderful stories,
often acting out each part,
and she brought light and laughter wherever people gathered.

She was also deeply insecure, believing herself to be
intellectually inferior to my dad and to most of her friends.
She had a mother-in-law who was sharp-tongued and judgmental
and a father who belittled and verbally abused her.

So when I was growing up, she depended on me to be
an emotional sounding board and a hands-on helper
with all things domestic.
For most of my growing-up years, she was my very best friend.
I idolized her and thought she was the smartest
and most beautiful woman I knew
and I tried to please her in every way I could.

Matching hairdos mom and me21118_n

My mother loved me and, most of the time, she also liked me.
She struggled to understand me, however.
In some ways we are similar,
sharing 
a lot of the same interests
and laughing 
at the same jokes.

But in other ways, we are most definitely not alike,
and during those early years,
I intuited that it was not okay to step outside the box she drew,
the box of acceptable behavior and language,
of dreams and goals . . .

You can read the rest of this piece, and lots of other really fine writing, over at www.makesyoumom.com Clicking on this line will take you directly my post — but be sure to look around. It’s a grand place.

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!