I’m getting older.
I used to have perfect vision, but now I wear glasses. I used to sleep like a baby, now I wake up a least once a night, often to pee. I used to be fearless; now, I’m often afraid of something happening to my children or aging parent or my health.
Maybe you know what I’m talking about. You’re getting older, too. We all are.
And as we age, we see the fragility of life. In fact, we feel it. Our aching joints or small or chronic pains nag us. Worst of all we see death.
A surprising number of my high school classmates have died. It’s startling. Sobering. And I can’t help but wonder, could I be next?
Yes, getting older and realizing we will all die doesn’t seem like the best thought to ring in the holidays. But, in some ways, it is good.
Understanding that I will die someday does something for me. It helps me see more clearly the value of life. It heightens the value and my appreciation of those small, seemingly insignificant experiences: the smell of fresh air on a sunny afternoon walk, or a kind word or embrace from a loved one, my child laughing. When I was younger, I may not have noticed them. But now, for me, those are some of the greatest gifts of life.
So, aging isn’t all bad.
There’s also more than just perspective to be gained here. You can also improve in other ways.
By God’s grace, my temper has tempered. I used to be explosive. Now, my explosions look more like a small firecracker going off instead of the Mount Vesuvius of my youth.
So, yes, getting older sucks, but only sort of.
Now, I’m not old. I’m only just over the hill. But what I can see on the other side of life’s mound is that, sure, you see the bottom. But you also see beautiful vistas and the future of your children’s and, possibly, their children’s lives. If you squint, you might even see further.
As life progresses (or digresses), I might be waking up every hour at night to go the the bathroom; but I also get, God willing, to see my children learn and grow and live.
And I hope, for all of us, that, as we age and our bodies deteriorate, our minds and hearts, and souls, improve.
Even if outwardly we are wrinkled and worn, inwardly we can still be childlike, fresh—growing.
(Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Many blessings to you and yours!)