I have begun this post many times over the past few weeks, but each time I shelved it...knowing it wasn't right...that there was still more to be done in my heart and mind until it was ready to be shared...with you, and believe it or not, with myself. So often I am amazed at what comes out as I sit down to type, trusting that what He's saying is what I often cannot.
On Sunday I will turn 60. Maybe it should be spelled out...sixty...it looks less intimidating that way. I have been dancing around the acceptance of this for months now, at times dreaming of running away before it could happen...going to some exotic place where no one knows who I am or how ancient I am...a place where I could at least attempt to outrun the inevitable and all the fears that are wrapped around reaching this milestone age.
But I'm still here. And today I realize that there's no place I would rather be. I have dear family coming in this afternoon to celebrate over the weekend, and other loved ones who will join in the party Sunday after church at Paco's Tacos...my go-to place when I need comfort and good food.
Being sick this week has given me time to be still, to sit and reflect and listen for God's heartbeat and not my own rapidly racing one...to spend time pouring through old photos and breathing in all the grace and goodness that is my life...watching rainbows dance across the room each morning as I hugged cups of lemon tea, and wrapped in the stillness that comes at the end of the day as the birds flutter in for one more meal before darkness blankets the earth.
I am blessed. And to think I almost missed this truth! Yes, there is now more behind me than before me. And there's a bittersweet sorrow for all the lost opportunities of my past and for all the dreams of the future that I know now will never materialize. Time is slipping through my open hands and I can no more grasp on to it than I can hold on to a sunbeam.
I think all who age will be forced to entertain these thoughts. They will either find a way to accept and go forward with them, in gratefulness and kindness and humility...or they will, with regret and anger, go kicking and screaming into the twilight years. Aging mercifully slows us down and forces acceptance, for in the younger years of our lives we are so busy...starting careers, raising children, building homes...that we don't have time to stop and think that life is fleeting and that all will change...and to realize that we are now making the choices and changes that will make the later years either a blessing or a regret.
I came to Christ in my early 20's...almost 40 years ago. I wish I had grown up knowing Him and His love. But though many years were lost and wasted, I am now at the place where I can see how the mercy of God has reigned over and over again, not only in my life, but in the lives of family and friends....bringing about change, and hope, and goodness. And I am realizing this...that even the dumb choices...the stupid things I did...the things I wish I had done differently, both before and after coming to Christ...have not been wasted. Instead, they have been redeemed by a God of Love who works everything together for good. I don't know why we so often have to learn the hard way, but we do. And now I humbly bow before Him, recognizing that anything good in me...or in my life...sixty years later, is because of Him.
I had no choice in my birth and I will have no say in my death...both are in His hands. But I have a gift called today, that will come over and over and over again as long as He permits...a tiny space in time where I can live in and encounter the truth that no matter what the future holds, God will be in the midst of it... and that neither life nor death can ever separate me from His love.
What made me finally finish this blog today was something I read this morning that I must share with you...fittingly, it came at the end of the last chapter of a book that has brought me much healing. I believe with all my heart that this was an early birthday gift from God...a love letter from Him to me...and now to you...
"What I want to say to you, my dear, is this: Just for today, live the passionate truth of who you are. Stop looking at what is undone, what you haven't achieved, where you've fallen short. Look, instead, into your own full heart. If your journey brings you to a choice between love and fear, choose love. Offer it. Be brave enough to be vulnerable. Allow yourself to be seen dancing, and falling, and failing and trying again. You are loved, and all that you have to offer is deeply needed. Your own presence is a force for healing. Be present...you have work to do. Begin it." Magical Journey by Katrina Kenison
Months ago, in the midst of depression over the loss of my mother and so many other hard changes, I found a plaque at an art show that I literally grabbed on to and hugged close...placing it next to my bed...the first thing I would see every morning. It was God's lifeline to me...
Because you see, I wanted to give up. Desperately. But He didn't allow me to...day by day His strength was sufficient for me...leading me to this day where I can rest and be at peace...both with what has been, and what will be. Leading me into the future...a future filled with Him.
And now, dear ones, I must end this. All that it takes to make a home welcoming to loved ones needs to be undertaken.
Thank you for listening...for sharing this journey with me. Your life is a gift to me. You are loved!