But those who keep waiting for the LORD will renew their strength. Then they’ll soar on wings like eagles; they’ll run and not grow weary; they’ll walk and not grow tired.
During my walks in the past several months, I’ve noticed an increasingly large number of yard signs. I think the signs are a way for people to make their opinions known or to call attention to something that is important to them—“Thank You, Health Care Workers,” “Black Lives Matter,” “Congratulations, Class of 2020.”
Since the school year is officially over, I’ve noticed signs about children moving from one grade to another: “A Fifth Grader Lives Here. Good luck in Middle School.” “My child finished second grade. Good luck in third grade.” The following comment will definitely age me, but I can’t remember my parents cheerleading any of my, or my siblings, passing from one grade to another, and certainly we didn’t have any yard signs to mark our progress.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about advancing from one age to another, and about what constitutes “old age.” It grates on my nerves when our Governor refers to anyone of a certain age (over 65? 70?) as “medically fragile.” I understand his intent, and I, for one, am still sheltering in place. However, I don’t think of myself, or any of my “cronies” as “fragile.” I realize he probably means those with serious health conditions, but to me, the word “fragile” means easily broken or likely to fall apart when touched. So far, I’m not fragile.
During the late 60s and early 70s, I was a big fan of Simon and Garfunkel. I was not yet 40 when their song “Old Friends” came out. It begins: “Old friends….sat on their park bench like bookends….” The line that always stuck with me was “How terribly strange to be 70.” I agreed that it would probably be terribly strange to be 70. Now that I AM 70 (plus) I still find it terribly strange to be old enough that I am one of those people who is called to see if I’m OK, because that’s what we do for old people. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the calls and the friendly chats. I have a neighbor who checks on me by phone every 2 or 3 days. She’s always upbeat, and it’s a pleasure to hear from her.
I’ve been lucky to have had positive role models for aging in my life. That piece of good fortune probably contributes to my positive feeling about aging, instead of thinking of it as something to dread. My mother was one of those role models. My father died when she was 50, and she went out and got the booklet to study for her driver’s license test, got her license, and then found a job. She didn’t retire until she was 75. She astonished everyone, including her surgeon, when she had both knees replaced at the same time at age 91, and got out of bed 8 hours later, without complaints. When she reached her mid-90s, I caught her reading the want ads in the AJC. When I asked her what she was doing, she said, “I’m looking for a job.” She lived to be 100.
Speaking of aging (which I hope I am doing well), my husband passed away three days after his 94th Birthday. Two weeks before he died, we were working out together at the gym. Medically fragile? Maybe so, but with a spirit and a spine of steel. I would do well to emulate him when I am 94.
Dear God, Help us to treasure each day of our lives, to find beauty and moments of peace in each day, and to be grateful for the time you have given us. Amen.
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