Maybe it’s just the time of life I find myself in right now, but there’s been a lot of blessing counting going on lately. Recently losing a close friend and coworker, who was only 51 and also a cardiac patient, has definitely set me off on a tangent of reflection and meditation. So many questions surface, at least for me, when you have a history of a heart attack, multiple blockages and stent implants, have spent, cumulatively, hours suffering from the pain of angina, wondering if perhaps “this one” is more than just the pain. How long do you let it go before you break down and call the doctor, or worse, head for the emergency room? Sometimes paranoia tends to sneak into the mix. Crazy things cross your mind like wondering who will show up at your funeral, will the family know which songs you want sung, and where will it be held? Will there be anyone I forgot to tell one last time, “I love you”? Yeah, I know, pretty morbid, huh?
Then I turn my focus to the now. I look around me. I don’t have a lot of worldly belongings, don’t make a lot of money, but I’m rich, rich, rich. Just a few feet away is my soul mate, the love of my life. After all those years of abuse, depression, close calls and near hits, I knocked it out of the park, with God’s help. To live in peace every day, to know I will be extended the highest levels of respect, consideration and selflessness intermingled with uproarious laughter makes life so rewarding. I thought I knew and understood what love and marriage were all about, but I was wrong. Sometime during all those years I was single, I reached the conclusion that all I truly wanted in a marriage was reciprocity – I just wanted back what I was willing to give – just return to me what I give to you. Well, it didn’t quite work out that way. You see, it seems I get more from him than I give to him. He argues that point, but maybe that’s how it is supposed to be. You don’t realize how much you give, you just do it. That, too, is a condition of the heart.
May of 2008 was a monumental time, when in the mail I received the very first copy of my book. I was a published author. I poured my heart, soul, sweat and tears onto the pages of that tome, and they were manifested in my hands. I wept like a baby as I held and stroked that hardback edition, feeling as if I’d just given birth again. Little did I know how much that one little book would change my life, and be the catalyst for my story to be used for God’s glory. Just before the book went to press I ran into an old friend from school. We met in second grade in 1958, and were buddies through high school graduation. In 1969 I lost all contact with him. Then, 39 years later, up he popped. Throughout those 39 years I had often wondered whatever became of my friend. We never dated, not even a crush on one another, but in March 2008 he randomly sent me an e-mail from a singles website. He didn’t recognize me (hopefully that was not a bad thing), but I had never forgotten him. Boy, was he surprised when he found out it was me! We had our first date 50 years after we met. We were married only four and a half months later. Mmm-hmm, he’s the same guy I described in the previous paragraph. I got my Prince Charming, my knight in shining armor, my best friend, ultimate lover and God’s divinely appointed soul mate all at the same time. It was a long time coming, but well worth the wait.
In October 2009 I was able to attend my 40th class reunion. Through Face Book I have managed to reconnect with countless friends, and establish strong friendships with many who were merely acquaintances in high school. Like one classmate said, when you make it to this point in life, it’s no longer about popularity and “stuff,” it’s about relationships. She was so right. Nothing could make it more glaringly obvious than at the reunion when they read the names of all our classmates who have predeceased us. We are all mere mortals, and life on earth will at some time and in some manner come to an end. When we go, we won’t be pulling a U-Haul behind the casket.
In a couple of years my son will turn 40. It seems while I wasn’t looking age snuck up on me and took over my body. Gravity – what a powerful source – and not always kind. I had no idea so many body parts could go so far south in such a few years. The texture of my skin has become that of my mother’s when she was my age. I remember looking at her crepey bodice and thinking, “Oh, God, don’t let mine become that way.” And then there’s the thinning hair. Nothing like standing at the sink in the bathroom at work, underneath all the florescent lighting and see a shiny spot on your scalp where thick, luscious blonde hair used to be. There are days it seems Mama has shown up and decided to move in with me, cohabiting my body. So often you hear women say, “I feel like I am becoming my mother.” Well, all you young girls, don’t be a hater. One of these days your mom’s genetics will come to visit your body. As the old saying goes, “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”
Growing old(er- allow me my vanity!) has so many more positives than negatives. You see, deep in my heart I know this – I am blessed. I have two wonderful children. Both of them are happily married to spouses who love them and give them the good things in life like love, laughter and security. The cherry on top is that I get to be a Grandma to four wonderful girls. I love each of them differently, but all of them equally. Such diverse personalities they have! Each uniquely special!
In a little more than a month I will turn 59 years of age. Actually, captured inside this 58-year-old body is a very young lively girl and I’m determined to let her out more often! There’s a lot to reflect upon, draw on and learn from. Getting old is not always pretty, and it definitely is not for sissies, but considering the alternative, I think it’s a pretty good option.