“If we’re going to go to Hawaii I want it to be before I’m thirty” I used to say to my husband. “I don’t want to be old and in a muumuu on the beach.” The calendar I held in my head was marked at thirty years as the date where life started to fade. My calendar was produced during the 1960s when the slogan was, “Never trust anyone over thirty.” At an early age my mind was made up, thirty years was old.
Now, as I stand at the intersection of 50 and Eternity with my twenties, thirties, and forties in the rearview mirror, I look ahead and see a changing landscape – a landscape that mesmerizes me. From this vantage point I no longer feel the need to get it done or to do it right or to move on to the next task, challenge, or goal. There are hues of freedom ahead.
I am much more cognizant that the time I spend living right now is as precious as the golden sunlight breaking through puffy clouds. In this landscape of life I am less impatient with the mundane and make it a point to celebrate the joy of daily living. I believe Qoheleth who wrote, “Moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil.” (Eccl. 3:13, NRSV)
It is hard to ignore, however, that my physical container is changing; muscles are losing elasticity and the joints seem to sore more easily. Nonetheless, I play coed softball with more gratitude, humor, and humility. I walk more, often kicking a stone down the street and inhaling summer’s fragrance, my favorite is hot pavement and volunteer wild flowers. My bike gets used more often as I figure I need to ride while I still can. Watching both parents become crippled and die over long stretches of time does makes one appreciate the physical part of life.
The skin I am in has also gotten more pliable. I’ve softened to the idea that I don’t have to be right, and in doing so I benefit. My heart is more open to the ‘thou’ in life and it’s hard for me to be rigid about orthodoxy. I am rigid about relationship. If something demeans, degrades, or destroys relationship, then I believe it is sin.
I believe in mystery in the best sense of the word. In my human capacity to grasp the Mystery, it is hard for me to put finite words around God and thus hem her in. I believe in the life proclaimed in Christ. And, this I can say for sure, there is divine spirit at the core of Creation, that births us, guides us, and sustains us from The Beginning, into this life, and to whatever is next.