Perspective & Grace…Getting Comfortable

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Reflections from The Afternoon of Life: Finding Purpose and Joy in Midlife by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Probably the hardest thing about writing for me is figuring out how to efficiently use a computer. I’ve had several reality checks along the way. “Adapt or die!”   “Use it or lose it!”   “Just Do It!”   “Quit Whining!”  Yes, I’m giving the process of change a lot of push back lately.  The chapter title, “I’m Getting Comfortable with Looking Comfortable,” was not exactly my perspective on aging in Elyse Fitzpatrick’s book, “The Afternoon of Life”.   Perhaps I’d rename it “I’m Becoming More Comfortable with Looking Contented”.  I disagree with her title, but not her content. She’s spot on in that department.

What do I tell myself when an aging body and mind begin to fail me, or my friends?  And what does aging and loss mean in the context of the gospel that I’ve said I’ve believed most of my life?  It helps to look at the big picture when all the pixels of my life become distorted.  Dependable things have ways of fading as a gradual sunset.  Could it be that most of the things of this world, including my personal world, are passing as well?  Knowing truth is way different from believing truth.  God says that this world, and the things of this world will pass away, but my Word will never pass away (paraphrase of 1 John 2:15-17).

Giving a grocery list of all the declines in life and the equally matching Biblical commands to meet them would seem much like a ‘white knuckled’ legalized approach. The path of Galatia is as exhausting, and relentless as an unforgiving judge. But what if the Judge was forgiving? What if He provided a way of escape and forgiveness? And what if He promised His unending support throughout your sojourn that was designed before the foundations of this world to transcend you into another one? (Eph. 1) This flips everything, including me, on it’s head. The world would say-“wow, this is like Christmas!” God says, “yes, this is the gospel of my dear Son.”   This gives aging, the changes, the losses a new perspective.  The child of God can look through the eyes of faith, and learn to trust that He is faithful, and sufficient to provide all that He asks me to do. I want to finish well, and on His terms, not my own.  If the focus of my heart is on temporary things, I will have temporary results. (Col. 3)   All of my motives, desires, thoughts and beliefs, even good and pure ones must spring from and toward the life of Christ within me. (1 Cor 10:31; Phil 4:13, just read the whole book!)

So what about menopause, wrinkles, hot flashes, and all the other temporary changes?  Keeping a sense of humor can help.  I have personally traded a head of silver for a box of gold call “Light Ash Blonde!” I now have earned seven crowns in this life, according to my dentist.  I gladly ask for a senior discount, and try not to look stunned when it is given without my even asking anymore. Oh well, God must have a sense of humor I tell myself as I look at my grandson.  He has my stomach muscles, my hair’s bald spots, sporadic teeth, and expects everyone to know what he means when he whines. I’m sure we could list some verses to address that one.

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