Saturday, February 23, 2013


I'm disturbed.
Time is passing much too fast
for me to keep up.
My head whirls to keep track
of dates and events I thought
so recent.
Are you sure that was
last year?
Two years ago?
I'm getting old - well,
older, anyway.
What I mean to say is that
I'm getting older too fast
to be possible!
This isn't real - how these
days zip by like soap
slipping from wet hands.
I can't seem to get a grip
on my life.
Lord, please supply
some traction!

I wrote that when I was 34 years old. That was 34 years ago. And time is still zipping by just like those slippery bars of soap! I'm so glad that in heaven we'll be free from time - no clocks, no calendars, no device of any kind telling us that time is streaking on by.

But you know, each stage of life has its own rewards. You may not possess the energy to work circles around others any more, but you probably now have the wisdom to give encouragement in a situation that would have left you tongue-tied earlier. You can go to bed any time you want; no waiting on a fussy baby to fall asleep first! No list of baby-sitters! No getting up bleary-eyed rushing to get ready for work (well, no rushing anyway).

We must not take advantage of being older to be a bossy know-it-all, or sharp-tongued, or think we deserve special permission to be abrasive and rude. Several years ago I was waiting impatiently in the speedy check-out at a grocery store. The aisle was narrow - several were behind me. An elderly gentleman in overalls and straw hat came in pushing a cart, looked around, then took careful aim squarely at our line. He stopped and looked at me through his thick lenses, his mouth open in a silent "O". Seeing he didn't understand the nature of the problem facing us, I said politely, "Sir, I don't think you can get through here - it's way too narrow." I spoke clearly and rather loudly, expecting him to nod and toddle off seeking another entrance.

Instead, he looked down his long, straight nose at me and said, just as loudly, "Well, cain't you get outta the way?!"

All sorts of retorts ran through my mind. No, I did not want to get out of the way! I was in a hurry! I was tired! I was aggravated at his rudeness! After a minute, however, I turned to the frowning folks behind me and said "Someday, if God lets us live long enough, we're going to be old. And we're going to want others to be kind to us. So, let's just get out of the way and let him through." The tension broke, we all laughed, and with one accord backed up. Our elderly friend pushed right on past us without a "thank you, kiss my foot" or any other acknowledgment. We forgave him.

Then there was Marie. In her 60s, she was one of the most interesting, refreshing women I had ever met. She lived vivaciously in the present day. You couldn't mention a current event she didn't know something about. I'm sure Marie could have regaled us with good-ole-days stories, but she chose instead to focus on NOW.

Marie gave her life to Jesus Christ when in her 60s. When her neighbor invited her to a home Bible study, Marie's response was "Sure, never too old to learn!" She soaked everything up like a sponge, and asked a thousand questions. My husband, Jim, happened to be teaching that study and afterward came home raving about her intelligence, thirst for the Word, and her interest in everything around her. Marie was baptized after only two studies and began loving and serving her new church family in any way she could. We moved away, but after many years were privileged to see her once more. Marie held court from her wheel chair by then, but she was still Marie: optimistic, smiling, loving. Her 80-something years had clipped her wings, which saddened us; however, I'm quite sure that by now she's talked some angel out of his. He didn't stand a chance.

"The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, 'The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.'" Enjoy being God's older child!

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