Help! I’m Getting Old and I Can’t Make It Stop!

It used to be if I felt old, I would lose five pounds, buy a new outfit and stay up past 10:00 pm one night to feel young again.  Now I would have to lose twenty pounds, color my roots, shop for days to find something that fits, and take a nap the next day if I did stay up late.  It wears me out even thinking about it.  I think I am just getting too old to shake the feeling old feeling anymore.  However, I have learned it is all in perspective.  I was at a party a few weeks ago and an elderly gentleman mentioned he was, “At the age where everything is either dried up or it leaks!”  I guess relative to where he is at in life, I might begin to feel young again.

I am reminded every morning when I wake up though that I am no longer a spring chicken.  My feet, legs and back remind me that there are some things even a Tempur-Pedic mattress can’t fix.  I look in the mirror and my sexy nightgowns lost the sexy somewhere along the way.  Although, I have found that if I don’t put my glasses on right away, I can pretend that I have a younger body and all is well.  It’s much more pleasant than facing reality before my first cup of coffee. I pull out the medicine drawer and filler-up on the hormones I lost in menopause in hopes that I can finish a sentence at any given time during the day.  On the bright side, I still have my own teeth and most days I can still laugh about getting old!  I laugh even harder if it’s someone else getting older and not me though.  However, the reality of life is, we are all going to get older unless we are dead.  So looking at a glass half-full, one might be praising God for another day added to our age instead of the alternative!

Then there are the situations when I feel like life has been unfair to some.  In last month’s mass shooting, one of the men killed, Matt McQuinn, was only twenty-seven years old.  It affected me as his parents were people I’ve known for many years.  We used to worship together every Sunday morning with our young children in the days gone by.  When the kids are young you don’t think anything could happen to them.  Even when Matt was twenty-seven, who would have thought he wouldn’t make it back home from a Batman movie?

I don’t understand it when God chooses to take someone from this life what I would think was prematurely.  However, Jim and I were discussing this last night as I am yet again faced with a couple of loved ones struggling with cancer.  Jim said he has learned, “that this earth is just a practice grounds…it’s full of do-overs.  While we are here on earth, God allows us to figure things out so to speak.  Grace is a beautiful gift we shouldn’t overlook.  It allows us to become the person God created us to be and still allows us to have a clean slate after it is all said and done.  Grace erases our past and gives us hope of a new beginning…sometimes over and over and over.”

If I knew what I know now when I was younger, my choices would have been drastically different. However, if I had not walked through the valley of sin and destruction, I may not appreciate the grace afforded to me to find my way out of that life today.  I may not be the strong believer that I am today had I not felt the no-strings-attached forgiveness extended to me when I simply asked.  Had I not walked through the trials given to me, I would have never developed the relationship that I have with my Savior that I have learned to lean on and to trust.

We both agreed that perhaps when someone is called home at an earlier age than I think they should be, that maybe they have “passed the test.”  You know…become the person they were to become and served the purpose God had given them in this world.  It seems like the younger the death, the more impact it has on those around them.  Perhaps like Jesus, they were sent here to live so that even in their premature death, they might influence those around them for Christ.  It doesn’t always make sense to us and we grieve over our losses.  However, since when did God ever tell us everything or allow us to understand all about His plan?  We aren’t here to have all the answers or say when someone should live or die.  We are here to practice until we get it right!

So who cares if my teeth fall out, my hair needs colored and my bones creak when I move?  My focus here on earth is to “get it right” and fulfill that which God has called me to do.  Maybe I’m a slow learner and I will have to live to be 92 before God calls me home.  Perhaps He just has so much for me to do I won’t be able to get it all done until then.  I don’t know what tomorrow brings…neither do you.  So, tell your friends and family you love them.  Talk to them about Jesus if they don’t know Him personally like you do.  Ultimately, it won’t matter how old they are when they die if they have accepted Jesus as their Savior.  They will be in eternity with Him…no more sorrow or pain…no more need for do-overs—or makeovers for that matter!  If you wake up tomorrow and God has called me home, don’t cry—know that I’m OK.  I’ve simply gotten through my grace period and I’ve been signed on for eternity in heaven!  (If I’m still around at 92, you can laugh at me and tease me that I must have fit into the slow learner category!)

Can I trust that it will be the same for you?  If you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, will you please pray today and ask Him to come into your heart?  I love my friends and family and want you all there with me.  It’s going to be a big party in the sky where young and old will be reunited in the afterlife. Until then, I thank God for another day to serve Him on this earth, and oh, please pass the Bengay!

Hebrews 13:14 (NLT)  For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.

Philippians 1:20-26  For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.

One Is the Loneliest Number…

Did you ever feel invisible?  It just seems like sometimes no one even knows I’m here.  Week after week, I have been plastering across the Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-in about my book.  I’ve talked to friends and strangers alike handing out one business card after the other and it never ceases to amaze me that many act surprised that when they hear me say I am an author.  I see them on Facebook because they are my friends, but how do they not know what is going on with my life?  My pastor said a week or so ago, “If you haven’t noticed, people are not nearly as excited about your life as you are!”  I laughed when he said it but I am beginning to experience or at least acknowledge the reality of his statement.  Being the baby of the family, that’s a difficult concept for me to accept.  Why is it that this is the norm?

Saturday we stopped at Panera for a bite in-between carpeting stores.  As Jim was up waiting on our food, I notice a little old man going to town on his pick-two meal.  There is something about old men I love—I am drawn to them. I guess it is their big furry ears and pants pulled up to their armpits that is endearing to me.  When I was younger, my great-aunt and uncle were my chief care-givers as my mom had returned to her career by the time she had me and dad, too, worked a lot.  I spent a lot of time with Mama and Daddy Bill and their friends.  I’m not much of a shopper and never have been.  When we would go shopping, often, Daddy Bill and I would go sit on a bench at the mall while Mama went into the store to retrieve whatever she needed that day.  Daddy Bill would talk to anyone who sat down beside us and it was usually other men waiting on their wives as well.  I would enjoy the conversation and giggle as they complained about the shopping their wives were doing but when it rolled around to their recent prostrate troubles, I would exit and go throw some pennies into the fountain hoping Mama came back fast!

I grew accustomed to hanging out with older folks as even when mom and dad would come home, I would often go out with Mama and Daddy Bill to their friends’ houses to play cards or hang out in the evenings.  One year I went to the county fair with them to celebrate their 50th anniversary and watched proudly as they accepted their award–their cheering section of one.  We would even go pick up their friends, load them into the car and take them to the grocery, hairdresser, or wherever they wanted to go.  Me being squished between two old ladies talking and spitting on me in the back seat seemed all so normal at the time.

My mind went crazy as I imagined why this man was all alone on a Saturday for lunch.  Truth be known, he may have been enjoying his solitude.  I will never know what his story is.  But this scenario did make me stop and think about the millions of lonely people in this world.  My heart went out to him if here were truly a widower out trying to find a decent hot meal.  Then my mind went to the young mom struggling to figure out this new motherhood thing, isolated at home with no car to get out and find other moms to hang out with.  Then I thought about the soldiers in Afghanistan a world away from their families and loved ones living for a three-minute phone call twice a week–and their wives and kids the same.  So what if someone missed my Facebook post?!  This life isn’t all about me.  Rather, it is about touching the lives of those whose paths cross ours and helping them feel visible in an invisible world.

Who is in your world today that might benefit from a phone call, note or perhaps lunch with a friend who understands?  Are we so busy that we can’t put our life on hold for an hour or two to go sit on the bench so to speak and hear what’s going on in someone’s life?  Chances are there is someone you know that is today as I write, struggling with loneliness.  When we take the time to reach out to others and spend time in their world, surprisingly, we are the ones who come away feeling blessed.   For when you touch someone’s life, you are no longer invisible; rather you are someone they will never forget.

Mama and Daddy Bill were as old if not older than those they talked to on the bench or drove around town.  They could’ve chosen to stay at home and watch soap operas all day while feeling sorry for themselves in their senior years.  However, they chose to go help others who needed their help.  They were two of the most giving people I know and I am happy to have had them as role models in my early years.  I never really heard them complain of loneliness as they had figured out the secret cure for sure.

Are you lonely today?  Are you feeling invisible as if no one cares or even knows you exist?  Do you wonder why others always seem to be the one everyone thinks of before you?  If so, I would say to you, “When was the last time you reached out to someone in need?  Have you taken the time lately to sit and listen to someone’s struggles or even just the stories they’re dying to tell?”  www.Dictionary.com describes the word lonely as “standing apart; isolated: a lonely tower.”  So to me this is screaming out to me saying if you are lonely, stop being so isolated!  Find someone who needs you rather than looking for someone you think will fill your void.  Because remember, they are not nearly as concerned about your life as you are.

To sum things up in closing I would say, use the tools before you today.  If you’re on Facebook, take the time to read between the lines.  Is there someone who needs to be encouraged?  Did someone just lose a loved one that you could give a little of your time to talk?  Maybe someone just tweeted about drama going on their lives and could use a friend right now.  Was that a tear you saw in someone’s eye Sunday as they quietly slipped out of church while the last song played?  Perhaps there’s an old man on the bench at the mall that needs a smile and a hello.  Whatever it is in your world that stands out to you is probably that which will bless you for giving it your time and attention.  Have a blessed week as you go out and bless others!  At the end of the week well served, I’ll even let you borrow my phrase, “Just Trying to Be a Blessing!”

Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV)…A man who has friends must himself be friendly…

Proverbs 27:17 (NKJV)…As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.