God has recently been telling me, “Give it away” and that is just what I am doing! I’ve invited some beautiful souls from my favorite Facebook community for women in the 50+ season of life, The Consilium: a Gathering of Wisdom and Grace . Enjoy the words from their hearts and, if you don’t mind, would you leave a comment to encourage them? Feel free to join us over at The Consilium – we would love to see you there!
Today, I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Sandra King:
Whoever decided small critters were good for older people?
When I bent down to pick up the littlest dog during the morning rush, something in my left lower back went awry.
After I’d deposited the oldest grand-girl at the school curb and returned home, I cranked the shower up hotter than hot and let the water pound on that spot right above my left hip while I hung upper body down, slightly tilted to the right, and arched my back like a cat.
Don’t try to picture that.
When the water ran cold and the fog hung heavy, I felt my way out of the bathroom into the kitchen where I rifled through the drawer for ibuprofen. I tipped three pills into my palm, dropped one, and then crawled around on the floor to find it before a pup beat me to it. I dusted it off and swallowed all three with a gulp of cold coffee.
Back in front of the mirror, I saw my mother looking at me. There was a bruise on my shoulder. I don’t know where that came from. And the black warty thing on my neck, the one my doctor blasted with nitrogen a couple years back, is back. I touch it with my index finger (what if it turns out to be cancer?) and notice the web of wrinkles on the back of my hand. I squeeze four fingers together with the other five and decide the tenting rises like a couple bird’s feet.
Fact: I’m not a spring chicken any more.
I’m feeling my age, and time hums by, and I’m growing old(er).
In April, I snaked through Calvin’s campus bookstore during the Festival of Faith and Writing with Adventure of Ascent: Field Notes from a Lifelong Journey tucked in my arm’s crook. “I came to writing late though it came to me early,” I told Luci as she autographed my book. “I’m twenty years younger than you, and I’ve wasted so much time.”
You still have plenty of time, Luci assured me. She was born just three days before my mother who died from brain cancer almost three years ago. At 85, Luci is still sailing and tent camping and traveling and speaking. So maybe there’s hope for me. But still, if only . . .
Luci Shaw’s latest book is about aging, her ponderings reflected as a mountain-climbing expedition. I love that she talks about growing older as an incline and not as a decline. She writes about osteopenia and painful joints and flabby arms and diverticulitis and scars, including one from a cat scratch—all like me. I wish I could just sit and talk with her like a daughter to her mother.
Luci quotes Emerson, who said, “People do not grow old. When they cease to grow they become old.”
I want to keep growing. I want to shed the weight of regrets and what-ifs and if-onlys and face the summit with a lighter pack and a spring to my step. And I want to believe I am who I am where I am in this season—though I’m as busy and tired as a young mom–because it fits into God’s plan for me at the moment.
I’ve been re-reading Kay Arthur’s book, As Silver Refined. She reminds me that if God is sovereign–and I believe He is–my what-ifs never happened. If His plans for me can’t be thwarted, and if they include writing books or poetry or visiting Africa or the Holy Land or whatever I think I’ve missed, I can’t mess anything up, and it’ll happen in His timing. So I resolve to rest in that.
“In a poem** in Image, Christian Wiman writes about ‘feasting on distances, gazing / dead into the sun.’ That sounds absolutely right—to look ahead to a far horizon with confidence, without flinching or fear; to let myself be gloriously blinded with possibility. I would like to infect my contemporaries, both young and old, with an openness that frees us to talk about unknowns, muscled by faith, with joy as fluid in me as the blood in my veins. Feasting on distances. Yes.”
I want to be blinded with possibilities no matter my age, to forget what lies behind and press onward and upward.
But right now I think I’ll feast on some oatmeal and then take another shower.
**The Mole by Christian Wiman
Sandra Heska King (AKA Snady AKA SHK) carries a Medicare card and is not happy about it. She lives in Michigan and writes from a 150-plus-year-old family farmhouse set on 60-something acres surrounded by corn or soybeans or sometimes wheat. She’s a camera-toting, recovering doer who’s learning to just. be. still.
Latest posts by Diane W. Bailey (see all)
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