Aging gracefully, becomes more difficult as we age and as one’s body seems to betray self. When I was much younger, I could never understand why the elderly were so grumpy. I’m beginning to get a picture of why! When we age our bodies simply don’t function like they used to. I know people who are afraid to go places because they never know when a B.M. will attack without warning, absolutely no notice. Will there be a facility, close enough to accommodate the situation, is always a concern. I know people who hardly have any teeth left because their bone structure has worn down so thin their teeth no longer stay in place. Dentures, oh my gosh, they slip and slide all over one’s mouth, making it difficult to eat, often creating sores on the gums. Due to modern technology dentists are now able to drill a hole and screw a post with a tooth on top into the jaw; giving one a false tooth. From this girl’s perspective, doesn’t seem like much fun, considering how many teeth are in one’s mouth. But, I’m not there yet. I might change my mind if, or when, that day arrives. Many of my friends deal with crippling arthritis, stiff joints in the morning, failing eyesight, lack of energy, hair loss, memory that no longer remembers, a host of diseases which change how they do life, and fingers which no longer work. Many lose their zest for life as a result; it all becomes too great and too difficult.
Having reached the autumn years of my life, I desire to age with grace; bringing honor and glory to the Lord I serve. What might that look like in my life? First thought I don’t know. But, alas, that would be a lie. I believe the Bible, the Word of God, provides the answer. 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8 states, “love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick-tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. Love never fails!” Wow, if I would simply allow love to be my default in all interactions with others, the world around me would be tremendously different. Galatians chapter 5:22 – 23, states, “God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled.” The key to living my life, in such a manner, is surrendering to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit in all things; not just situations or interactions I choose to surrender.
How am I doing on “Aging Gray-cefully”? I guess the answer would depend on where my heart is surrendered, and who’s in control on any given day; me or the Holy Spirit. I never know what has prompted another’s crankiness, rudeness, outburst, or impatience, etc. I do not believe anyone, especially the more aged, have a desire to be cantankerous, or grumpy, or unlikeable. Therefore, if I can temporarily put myself in their situation, by asking God to help me see the person through his eyes, it totally makes a difference. A gentle smile, a kind word, an offer to help can turn around an otherwise “not nice day” for everyone. Do I always feel like being kind…. NO! Love, however, is a choice. A life surrendered to the leading of the Holy Spirit is a choice. I can choose how I respond.
Lastly, as I too suffer from many of those ailments brought about by aging, I need to remember, my life is a reflection of Jesus Christ and how I interact with others will either honor and glorify, or dishonor, the Lord, I serve.
So, how am I doing on the “Aging Gray-cefully” scale… let’s just say, “I’m working towards the glory and honor side”.
Until next time,
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green” Psalm 92:12- 14 (ESV)