A Stitcher Turns 50
I turn 50 this month and it is hard to believe that my parents have a child this old! Turning 30 was fun and the big 4-0 wasn’t such a big deal. But jumping…well stepping…over the half-century line is getting to me. Mentally I feel like I’m still 25 but my body reminds me that it is time to slow down. Muscles hurt that I never even knew existed. My joints don’t like mornings, cold, or rainy days and my hands hurt when I sew. I can’t seem to do anything physical without hurting myself. You know, physical things like changing a light bulb (and straining my back) or folding up the ladder (and cutting my finger). My hearing is going and my memory is gone. I have fat where fat should never be and my upper arms don’t stop jiggling until long after the waving is done. My arms aren’t long enough to provide ample space between my eyes and the page for reading. Threading a needle even with my glasses on is at times a super-human feat. I’m not even the same color anymore! My hair is turning gray and I’m getting brown age spots on my hands. I get tired much sooner than ever before and I go to the doctor more often than I go out on the town.
It’s not just the physical things either. Learning new stuff is getting harder and things seem much more complicated these days. All of my siblings are now over 40 and my nieces and nephews are growing up and having children of their own. Officers that work for me weren’t born when I took my oath to protect and serve and boys whose diapers I once changed are now men carrying guns for a living. My grandparents have all been gone for more than a decade and the older I get I miss them more and more.
I am ready to embrace a quieter more peaceful life but I worry about the inevitable things that go hand in hand with getting older. I have already lost friends to illness and tragedy alike. My parents will age and will someday become the child and I the parent. And with no children of my own, who will become my parent when I again become a child?
But while I think of all these things I also look back on the life I’ve had thus far. I was raised in a Christian home and my parents are still married after 50+ years. I was able to go to college and be a part of the LSU Golden Band from Tigerland, some of the happiest memories of my life. I have friends that love me and are there for me when I need them. I have a best friend that has stood by me through thick and thin and has allowed me to know the joy of motherhood by including me in the lives of her children. My brother and my sisters are saved. They have wonderful spouses that love them and are saved as well. They have blessed me with delightful nieces and nephews that they have raised in Christian homes. And they love me unconditionally. I’ve had a rewarding and honorable career serving next to the bravest men and women I know that do so much for so little. A career that has allowed me to have so much and go on many adventures. I’ve seen the sun rise over the beautiful snow-covered mountains of Canada and the sun set over the Australian ocean a hundred miles out to sea. I’ve soared through the air tens of thousands of feet above land and I have dived alongside God’s creatures in the deep ocean. I’ve known the love of God since I was a small child and I rejoice in joy over the grace of my salvation.
So I find joy as I realize what all of these changes mean. My sore muscles are from the many years that I have been blessed with good health and have been able to lead a physically active life. And when my joints ache when I sew I am thankful that God made me creative and skillful with my hands. I’ve got some extra layers of fat only because I have always had food to eat and enjoy. My gray hair reminds me of all the crazy things I have done in my life and survived but by the grace of God. Losing my memory means that past hurts are long forgotten. The age spots just mean that I’ve been around long enough to hold my great-nephews and see my parents reach their golden years…together. My arms are plenty long enough to hug those that are dear to me and my eyes still see the good in people. My old ears hear “I love you” more times in one day than many hear in a lifetime. And when I am old and return to childish ways I will not be alone for Jesus is always with me. And when my time comes I will enter the kingdom of Heaven and see my family and friends that have gone before me that I long so much to see again.
So as I reach this milestone I will not just fade into the background and go quietly into the rest of my life. I will play as hard as I am able, I will help as many as I can, I will love beyond measure, and I will thank God for the wonderful life he has blessed me with. I no longer fear life after 50, I welcome it with open arms!