I arose one morning and I went to the mine. Another day older and deeper in debt, St. Peter don’t you call me, ‘cause I am too old, I owwwwwwwwe my soul to the company store. Do-do-do-dum, dumpty dee dum. What was the name of that old Tennessee Ernie Ford Song? The title escapes me at the moment.
Have to be honest about all this, here lately, a great many things “escape me” at the moment. Another year older and Father Time has called my name. Life a thief in the night, he marched right in here and stole but another year of my life.
This morning is my birthday, a friend called and wished me well, and then he started telling me about all these people that he knew who died at my age and the causes of their deaths. I said, “Stop it Bill, I am not interested” but he continued. Bill, bless his heart, never seems to take “no” for an answer. He just figures it might mean “maybe.”
“Stop it! Stop it!” I said. Not to be deterred, he also filled me in on all these people he knew personally our age in his own neighborhood, who had died in just the last 12 months. I finally had to tell him that he was depressing me, to stop it! So much for happy thoughts and birthday well-wishers huh?
So much for the snappy Hallmark Card with the inspirational saying and the cute cartoon. I swear, right now, if I had a Helium balloon, I would suck on it.
I guess it is all relevant, I am just as young as ever, but lately it takes a lot more effort. I am no longer warned to slow down by the Police, but rather, by my Doctor instead. Some people grow up and spread cheer, I just sorta grew up, and then spread! Much like the biblical passage … “All things must pass” … I used to eat like a horse, now I look like one.
Life is so unfair at times.
With age, I find that things eventually change. I am now starting for the house after a night on the town about the time I started to go elsewhere when I was young. Sign of the times I guess, now is the time we learn to watch our step. We are doing that. Except we are not stepping out that much anymore.
The best thing about getting older is the fact that all those things you couldn’t have when you were young, you no longer want. You reach a point where you don’t worry about where the wife goes, as long as you don’t have to go with her. The shapely female figure no longer turns your head, and the Easy Boy Recliner calls your name.
No longer having to worry about avoiding temptation, it avoids me, at least most of the time it does. Lately I have more on my mind, than I have on my head. As my wife and I are virtually the same age, she no longer fibs about hers, she lies about mine instead.
The telephone rings again, it is my friend on the West Coast asking, “Well, how does it feel to be “sixty-one” years old?” Groan, more reminders, causing me to reflect on it for a minute or two. Before this moment, it was truly, just another day.
Am I really this old?
How did I reach this juncture in time? How on earth did this happen? A half a century old and still counting, this can not be possible. Time just sort of run by. Small child, teenager, young adult, you know the rest, I don’t have to ask myself anymore questions, I know the answers.
I woke up this morning thinking: “I might feel something new?” after all, pushing mid sixty is something new to me. I might feel wiser maybe. Clearer of head, stronger of heart. More centered. More …… as I used to say in my now begotten youth ….. together.
But I didn’t feel any of those things. I felt as I do most every morning, pretty good. A little stiff in the knee, aching in the usual joints, physical greetings from my old friend after all these years. You know, a little family arthritis and all right, maybe a little age. “Well, well, I said to myself, if this is what mid sixty feels like, then that is ok.”
I told myself other stuff too.
I said on this day I must remember to be grateful to God. Simply because he was gracious enough to allow me but one more day of life. Give yourself one big hurrah, from the Creator, for a job well done. I have my Salvation, and I am alive in the Lord. Being alive is truly the best gift that will come my way this day.
The only gift I want, the only gift that I need.
Funny how things work out. I have to be honest. Most of the time, I do not understand my brain. Some days I do not understand my heart. I don’t want to be mid-sixty this day, I would much rather be say, seventeen again and starting out on Life’s Grand Adventure. My mind softly tells me that I have always liked beginnings best of all.
So I fool myself into believing that I am just starting out on but one more Grand Adventure. Middle Age. I will announce to all or those who actually care, that I am now “Middle Aged.” Knowing full well that I do not know one solitary single soul over the age of one hundred years of on this planet. I am sure there are some, but I don’t know of any.
Maybe I should just start to fool everyone about my age in earnest? Everyone knows that in America, youth is good and old is bad, right? Women never tell their true age, why should it be any different for a man?
Almost six and one-half decades old, jeez, and no words of wisdom for anyone, not even for myself. If you were perhaps expecting something more, I apologize. Perhaps I’ll have to be Mid-seventy-something a little while longer, before I truly know what it means.
In the meantime, here is what I do know: I am grateful to be alive. I am NOT grateful to be getting older. A contradiction in itself you say, yes, that is right. Check back with me when I turn sixty-five or seventy and I should be inconsolable about the whole thing.
Concerns of the flesh, the human condition, deep thoughts. I am reborn each and ever day that I am here on this planet. However, like most humans, never stop to consider this fact of life. So age really does not matter, it doesn’t enter into the final solution at all, once you stop to pause and consider it closely.
So on my next birthday, I will take a deep breath, blow out all the candles on my cake (hopefully BEFORE the SMOKE DETECTOR goes off) and then silently say thanks to the Lord. Bless his Holy Name and perhaps wish for one thing, and one thing only.
I will wish for but one more year, or one more day, of glorious service to him. If I truly have one wish on my birthday, that is what I wish it to be.