On Aging. (Sunday Thoughts Link Up #35)

ISAIAH 46:4
“Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob,
all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since your birth,
and have carried since you were born.
Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

 GENESIS 25:8

Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years. Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people. 

 1 CHRONICLES 29:28

26 David son of Jesse was king over all Israel. 27 He ruled over Israel forty years—seven in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. 28 He died at a good old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth and honor. His son Solomon succeeded him as king.

I’ve been cruising the aisles of Target a lot lately. The 90 degree and one thousand percent humidity have chased us indoors, to pace like air-conditioned tigers. We are cool but we are dangerous. We see those doors to the great beyond and we will mow you down the minute it cools off if you try to keep us pinned in.

But while we’re still biding our time, we sift through bargain bins and I let Charlie play with all the musical toys he can hold, to his greatest delight. And I can’t help noticing the back-to-school clothes on the little white mannequins only three feet high—the tweens. There are fishnet things and cropped tops and shirt dresses too short for even their tiny frames. There are heels, big wedge boots and hoop earrings–things I didn’t consider until much much later. I know they grow up too fast. I know the world wants them to grow up even faster. This is not a new theme.

But then I pass women older than me, but probably not by much, squeezed into their Lululemon, looking way too tan and stiff and I think…what are we aiming for? What’s the bullseye? Is it 16? No, too young to vote/drive/graduate. 21? No, still on the verge of adulthood, not yet working and independently free. 30? No, married or single, kids or not, you’re still trying to find your niche. 40? Nope, that’s high tide for midlife crises. 65? Retirement and relaxation? No, now comes the sense from the rest of society that you are adrift, of less use, like the librarian in “The Obsolete Man” from the Twilight Zone. When is our prime, exactly?

The world wants us to chase a distant ideal, like dogs at the track with their plastic rabbit. Round and round we go until die. But the wisest men, men like Abraham and David, lived each day like it was the appropriate time and place for them. They knew their place in the timeline and weren’t afraid of it. I believe we can do this too, if we try, if we really, really try.

C.S. Lewis, in a letter to his friend Mary Willis Shelburne, wrote:

It’s natural enough in our species, as in others, that the young birds should show off their plumage—in the mating season. But the trouble in the modern world is that there’s a tendency to rush all the birds on to that age as soon as possible and then keep them there as late as possible, thus losing all the real value of the other parts of life in a senseless, pitiful attempt to prolong what, after all, is neither its wisest, its happiest, or most innocent period. I suspect merely commercial motives are behind it all: for it is at the showing-off age that birds of both sexes have least sales resistance!

I don’t want to be a bird preening for the rest of my life. It sounds exhausting. I’m not doing it. In the same way that I don’t want to hurry my kids’ childhoods, I’m also not going to try and slow my own adulthood. I will walk, at a rate as evenly as I can, wherever God leads. If he can take care of the Israelites from birth to “old age and gray hairs”, then surely he can take care of me? I might try to sprint ahead a little when these days are especially tiring (the heat, the very young kids) and I might drag my feet when they get to graduation or I hit the moment when it’s time to go gray, but overall, I’ll try to keep steady. If I really trust him, trust God with where my life is heading, then I have to trust him with the pace as much as the direction.

Sunday Thoughts Link Up!

It’s time for another Sunday Thoughts Link-Up! I know there are many out there with wisdom that could encourage all of us. As long as it’s Biblically-based, I’d love for you to join up and then read and comment on what others have shared. Please also leave a comment here. Think of this as a Sunday morning community group that comes to you. And grab the button if you like…

The Mom Gene

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