As the days pass, I see subtle changes in mom which clearly indicate the aging process is taking a toll on her. Her energy waxes and wanes, mostly waning these days. Her memory doesn't hold the details, or process the input as quickly anymore. The hearing is kind of shot, the legs don't propel her as quickly, and the teeth don't chew through food as well as they once did. All in all, the changes may be gradual, but they definitely mount up. One thing I can be reassured of - though her outward body is failing, her inner spirit is strong! She is being renewed day-by-day, energized by the Spirit indwelling her.
So we have no reason to despair. Despite the fact that our outer humanity is falling apart and decaying, our inner humanity is breathing in new life everyday. (2 Corinthians 4:16 VOICE)
None of us lasts forever, despite all the advances in medicine and the tremendous amount of money some of us will drop on this "enhancement" or that, we cannot stop the process of aging! We can take care of our bodies, but it won't help us live forever. We can keep our minds as sharp as possible, but it won't mean we never forget things and slow down in our though processes. We don't usually think of this as a process of decaying, but in truth it really is. The good news to each of us is this idea of our inner spirit never decaying when it is energized from within by the Spirit of God who indwells each of us! In fact, it is the only part of us on the "upward climb" when the rest of us is in the downward spiral!
For a moment, I'd like us to consider what each new phase of our lives means to us. For one thing, whenever we enter a new phase in life, we begin to learn new things or at least appreciate thing in a new way. For example, when I moved from being a floor nurse into my first position of leadership, I had to learn to let go of some of the daily routines I had developed and take on new ones. I also had to learn to relate to people in a new way - those who were coworkers were now those I was expected to lead. My direction would set the course for the entire team, so it mattered what I did, how I created the enthusiasm around the mission we had to tackle, and how well I could convey that mission to others so they would actually be inclined to go that direction with me!
As we enter new phases of life, new information comes our way. We are often expected to embrace this new information, somehow making "room" for it in an already cluttered brain! To many of us, it is like we "let go" of some of the stuff which was always at the forefront of our minds and we put new stuff in that spot. Do we really forget the old stuff? Not really, we just don't use it as much, so it seems like we have "made room" by letting go of that stuff. It probably is still there, we just have to work a little harder to find it on the hard drive of our brains! New information may seem a little harder for us to apprehend and comprehend as we enter these new phases in life, but it is important to remain open to what God may want us to see, experience, and grasp in each phase.
Some new phases mean we slow down a little, taking life at a different pace than we once did. I don't think this is always bad because we sometimes move along at such break-neck speed that we miss so much along the way. As I see my grandsons today, I recall my own kids. There are windows of time when I cannot recall if they did the same things, experienced life with that same enthusiasm, etc. I know they did, I just was too busy to form the memories which help me to recount how they experienced that phase of their lives! As I am older now, I take time to watch my grandsons - not because I didn't love my own kids enough to do it then - but because I have come to appreciate what things are a little more important at this phase of my life! Would that I could have realized it earlier, but I don't think I have floated in this boat all on my own - I have a few others of you who have seen those years fly by way too fast, as well!
Let's not forget we have the opportunity for moment-by-moment life renewal - and course corrections! Sometimes we need those reminders - just to stop, listen, hold hands, sing an old tune together, or just hang out in the stillness of the afternoon with the breeze gently tugging at our hair and the birds lulling us into quiet repose. Just sayin!