I have been guilty of making lot of jokes about being old, especially now that I am 57, retired, and have had an artificial knee installed. This week, God is calibrating me. Certainly I have lost many of the capabilities I had at 20, 30, 40, or even 50. And retiring and recuperating from surgery are a guarranteed combo for making one feel "less than".
However, since Barbara's mom has been hospitalized for three days, I have had ocassion to spend a lot more time with Barbara's dad at the assisted living facility that they have an apartment in. Today I had lunch with Ted (86), Ruby (88), and Herman (93). Herman is Ruby's husband and is enabling her to continue living in assisted care since she had a stroke last August. As we chatted about this and that, at one point Ruby joke about talking too much. Then she turned serious and declared "But that is all I have left". The stroke affected her vision. She can't read, write. She really can't feed herself. She can't walk. Fortunately Herman is one of those big, robust 93 year olds that just blow your mind. He spent 43 years repairing shoes and sewing cowboy boots in a town in west Texas (think wide open, very dry, spaces). Ruby and he have been married 70 years and were still very kind and loving to one another, even in this extreme circumstance they find themselves in.
OK. So I get it. I am not old. I am aging. I have lost a few abilities. But they really minor compared to what folks like Ruby have to deal with.
It also reminded me, that in the end, it is only our relationships that endure and give our life meaning. Our stuff may wax and wane. Our abilities may grow or shrink. But it is the people we love that makes life matter.
My prayer is that I would love more and gripe less.