Friday, June 11, 2010

Guest Post by Paula Guest

Note from Leona:  My friend Paula has a great perspective on aging, grandparenting and energy levels.  She recently wrote this for our church's Women's Ministry blog and gave us permission to reprint it here.  Thanks, Paula!

Aging is Not for Sissies
article by Paula Guest/photo by Tammy Circeo

The Bible has many good things to say about getting older; gaining wisdom, respect – and all that.  But it says nothing, gives you no guidance whatsoever on how to deal with the day you look in the mirror, and find yourself facing a stranger.  “Who is that?  And what have you done with my body?  Where is that ‘sweet
young thing' who used to turn heads?"

Grandchildren bring great joy.  But they also bring great humility.  There was the day that Nathan said, “Grandma, how did your hair get so gray?”  “Well, Nathan, that is what happens when you start getting older.”  “How old are you, Grandma?”  “I’m 60” “Oooohhh Grandma, that IS old!”

And then there was Isaac.  While I was sitting on the bottom stair helping Dillan put on his shoes, Isaac came up beside me and gave my upper arm a swing.  “Grandma, why do your arms do this?”

At 20, you cannot imagine being 40.  At 40, you cannot imagine being 60.  But at 60, you can imagine all too well, being 80.  Because at 60, you have watched your parents age – and perhaps die. You have entered, once again, into the care giving stage. And the fear is always with you, “Oh Lord, is this going to happen to me?  Am I going to become my child’s child?”

Time begins to speed up after 50.  Each moment becomes precious, a chance to make a memory. These days, and years, speed by with breathtaking speed. We look back and rehearse the memories from when our children were young, and we now see them parenting children of their own.  In each adult child, we see echoes of the past.  We celebrate what they are today, but we are nostalgic for the days when we were young, and so were they.

The birth of each grandchild is a day to savor.  While parents celebrate when the last child is potty trained, grandparents mourn.  “No more babies.”  It is a joy, an honor, and a privilege, each moment we have these precious grandchildren to ourselves.  But we are relieved, oh so relieved, when their parents come to retrieve them.  Because we are tired, oh so tired.  It is abundantly clear why God gave children to young people.

These years between 60 and 80 are precious years.  God’s plan is perfect.  These years are to be treasured. In these years, God has given us the gift of time. As we retire, hopefully with the feeling of a "job well done," we have the chance to rediscover our mate without the stress of careers, or child rearing.  We enter into a period where we have time.  Time to read.  Time to serve. Time to give back.  Time to simply enjoy God, and all His creation.

These are the years of Jubilee.

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