A reminder of mortality, as I just turned 79! It finally happened to me! My gastroenterologist advised me that he would give me some tests now, and if they were o.k. he wouldn’t do it for five more years—by which time I would be 84 and it wouldn’t make much difference how those tests came out, as the life expectancy for males today is 82. His words reminded me of an e-mail I received from a high school friend recently that listed 9 important Facts to Remember as We Grow Older.
#9 was – Death is the number One killer in the world.
#7 added – Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
#4 – Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospital, dying of nothing.
But he reassured me in the last line—….and as someone recently said to me: “Don’t worry about old age; it doesn’t last that long!”
As we grow older we all face our own mortality. We know the time is shorter than it once was. But being older is in many ways a gift from God. What blessings we have known as we grow older, in comparison to those who die at a young age!
We have been able to see our children grow up, marry and have children for us to love as grandparents! We are blessed with grandchildren and watching them grow. We are blessed by children who become persons that we appreciate for not only what they do, but for the kind of beautiful persons they have become. We see grandchildren grow and are able to participate with them in their joys and defeats and cheer them on in all of their endeavors—-and spoil them as any grandparent’s job description allows them to do.
We have developed a legacy to pass on to those children and grandchildren. Whether it be a special woodworking project that they will love, or the memories we make together as we live our lives—-that legacy will be passed on when our grandchildren and children say: “I remember what Dad (or Grandpa) used to say about this!”
We have lived through tragedies as well as joys in our lives and it has given us a depth and stability and a trust in God we didn’t have in our thirties. Richard Rohr writes about this “second half of life” in his book Falling Upward: “ There must be, and if we are honest, there always will be at least one situation in our lives that we cannot control, fix, explain, change, or even understand.” This is when the first stage of our lives ends and we reach out to God and say: “I can’t do it on my own, God, help me!” And we enter the second stage of our lives where our own ego is not our ruler, and instead we trust in God to guide our lives since we realize that we are really not in control after all!
For me it was the sudden death of my wife that brought me to this second stage. For others, it may be a divorce, the loss of a career, the loss of a parent. I reached out to God in my circumstance in a new way. I’d always been the fixer! This I couldn’t fix. I cried: “Help me get through this God!” and I felt a peace that I had never known and began a relationship with God that I’d never known before and in this second half of my life I am still living and growing in that relationship. What a gift of growing older!!
All of the above are reasons why those of us who are growing older should be thankful, in spite of our aches and pains that accompany it. We have been blessed by the above and much more! Life is good! Live it to the fullest until the day you die!