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THE LAST GOODBYE

exhaustedI slumped onto the sofa like a wet noodle after the last few guests departed our annual holiday party. It had been a success with plenty of food, beverages and outdoor activities for every age group.

The day concluded with family sitting around a fire pit where big kids set off fireworks and little ones waved sparklers. It was a wonderful family day, but after the last goodbye, I collapsed in total exhaustion like it was my last hurrah.

I have always considered myself to be tenacious, ready to take on any challenge or task with everything I’ve got. However, the next day when asked to help disassemble the outdoor party canopy, I quickly realized my body parts had finally caught up to my age. Unable to lift the heavy framework, I was assigned a new job of grouping the pole extensions by their assigned number. Even that required reading glasses due to the small print size.

My giddy-up was gone and I no longer possessed the strength needed to complete the task at hand. It was time to say my last goodbye to youthfulness and accept the limitations that accompany the aging process. Don’t get me wrong, we should do our best to stay fit, eat healthy and seek out life adventures; but we should do so with an acceptance of our limitations.

Jesus certainly experienced what it was like to collapse from total exhaustion. Look no further than the Garden of Gethsemane when He prayed,

“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Luke 22:42

Jesus wasn’t assigned a new job just because the weight of the cross or the sin of mankind was too much to carry. The outdoor activities planned for His party included torture, beatings and being nailed to a cross. In light of this, my exhaustion and limitations pale when compared to what Jesus accomplished as his body collapsed in death and spoke His last goodbye, “It is finished.”

Jesus’ last goodbye to us gave birth to eternal life; my last goodbye to guests gave birth to a 2-hour nap.

While putting away tables, chairs, food and outdoor games from the weekend party, I considered that I am not being nailed to a cross, eating my last supper or sentenced to death for my religious beliefs. Yes, I may be weary, tired and aged; but I’m not wearing military dog tags, navigating through mine fields or looking at my child’s photo inside a combat helmet.

Our youth may fade, but the glory of the privileged life we enjoy remains intact. Because of the selfless acts of love imparted by others and their allegiance to uphold our freedoms at whatever cost, I am able to sit by a fire pit with my family, watch grandkids light sparklers, eat from a bountiful table and curl up on the sofa like a wet noodle at day’s end.

When faced with utter exhaustion and your strength seems like sand in a sieve, you are not alone. Our ability to face life’s challenges and understand all the fine print it entails requires the help of others and an acceptance of our own limitations.

The last goodbye doesn’t mean we can no longer function, it only means we may require the strength of others or a higher power to get the job done. All we need to do is ask.

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HEAVEN’S PLASTIC SURGEON

wrinkles_gravityI’m not quite sure when it happened, but it did and now that it’s here, it’s not going away. I’m talking about wrinkles and all that extra padding that has turned my once thin body into the shape of a pear.

Firm skin is a thing of the past. I could fly South and back with the skin flaps beneath my arms and as for my legs, let’s just say my knees are now situated much closer to my ankles.

My eyes, once described as big, round cow eyes, have turned into sad, tired cow eyes. I have learned how to hide my double chin when someone snaps a picture. Sleeveless attire never enters the clothing equation and neck scarves are my new best friend (thankfully, they are in vogue); expandable or elastic waistbands are my constant companion.

Mirrors have become bulletin boards for the grand kids artwork and there is a dimmer switch on every light fixture in the house. Bigger is better when it comes to sunglasses; my favorite are those that cover my fading eyebrows and also hide the dark circles under my eyes.

Advanced age brings wisdom, but certainly not beauty. It’s a bitter-sweet trade-off. Scripture reminds us to be content in all things and that includes our acceptance of the aging process.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:25-26

I have given much consideration to this whole age thing and here is my conclusion.
When it’s my time to leave this earth, the power of gravity will work in my favor. I see it as an instant liposuction and face-lift all in one. The sagging skin, wrinkles and extra padding will be extracted upwards by the powerful force of God.

When I arrive at Heaven’s Gate, I will be refreshed, youthful and my current underarm skin flaps will be replaced with beautiful wings. As for sunglasses, they will only be needed to protect my eyes from the radiance of God’s glory.

FYI: It’s just one of the perks of being a Christian!