The Gift of Time
|Posted on June 26, 2021 at 11:40 AM|
Much of our lives we struggle with the misconception that old age is going to come on gradually and gracefully. We believe we will elegantly come to accept the fact that our hair has turned silver, we’re a little slower than normal, and we tire more easily. When someone we love begins to show the signs of age, including a bit of crankiness, we aren’t exactly sure what to make of it.
So let me help, as a person standing on the other side of the timeline. First of all, imagine your surprise when you realized it isn’t gradual at all. One morning you’re putting on your makeup and overnight, while you were innocently sleeping, lines have appeared where previously there was unmarked and very tight skin. From nowhere jowls have grown and the shape of your face is one you don’t recognize.
Upon further examination you find you have chin and nose hair! How does that happen? Is your body growing a fleece to keep you warm as the destruction of your cells makes you feel the cold more strongly?
You spend the morning mowing the lawn and get your normal sore back as a result. Except it NEVER GOES AWAY!!! You go to the phone to call your best friend and suddenly can’t remember why you walked into the next room – let alone the name of your friend.
Those million details you kept in your head are gone in a flash, and you find yourself writing little yellow sticky notes and putting them in various places around your house as reminders. But of course, you won’t think to look at them, and if you do you’ll likely not be able to read the writing or remember what your cryptic note means.
Aging is not particularly graceful or slow. It’s sneaky, unexpected and frightening. I’m not trying to freak you out or anything, but it can happen at any time, so you need to be prepared. Suddenly a stranger will be looking back at you in the mirror, and you’ll realize that it’s you. I don’t know if it works this way because God is kind or because we are blind. Either way, life as you know it will change.
What never changes though, is the love of our Father for us. We see our children as forever young, dreading the day when they won’t need us anymore. But God views us realistically, knowing that the older we get the more we need Him. We have this idea that mature Christians require less of God than baby Believers, but nothing could be further from the truth. And He, fortunately for us, will never age out of the parenting business.
My favorite scripture, Isaiah 46:4, says “Even to your old age, I am He. And even to gray hair, I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry and I will deliver you.” The older I get the more that promise has meaning for me. Everything inside us is changing, and everything around us feels foreign. But Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. And more than that, when we’re feeling too weary to move down the road, He will pick us up and carry us to wherever we need to be.
To my younger friends, just so you don’t get too afraid of the future, I can tell you that there is also great joy in being able to act goofy without care, dress crazy without thought of fashion, and go to the store without your make-up or your partial dentures. If someone notices, we can always blame it on old age.
And the added benefit is that we grow into an understanding of what’s really important. It’s hard to weight the importance of our decisions and treasure individual little moments when we think that life will go on forever. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could learn to prioritize the beauty of life when we are young? But I supposed we’d miss a lot of adventures if we did.
The gift of age is in the memories of little milestones that have marked our lives. Those little victories and defeats are what we will chew on when food no longer tastes good, or our teeth don’t work like they used to. The really lovely thing about aging is that we have the opportunity to appreciate all the precious things we’ve enjoyed, and the many times our Father has sustained us.
My prayer for the young is that they intentionally build those memories. And to the old I say be kind to yourself. We must let go of anything in our past that causes pain or regret and make the firm decision to give ourselves grace. Because that’s what God does. There is joy, even in aching joints or a bit of loneliness. Because even to our old age, God is there to carry us.
Be blessed, my Friend. God is on the throne.