Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Ages and Stages of Life
“I’m just as busy as I ever was but I get less than half as much as I used to do in a day,” my grandmother used to say. I used to laugh in response to that dear lady who had such a sense of humour.
I thought of her a little while ago when I came across a diary I kept when our children were small. At the time, I helped milk our herd of Holsteins twice a day. I did many loads of laundry each day, sewed clothes for all of our family, had a huge garden and canned a lot and froze enough to fill two large freezers every summer. Besides that I was involved in our local home and school, taught 4-H, was on various church committees and on and on. Now I wonder how in the world I got that much done. As I read of all I got done in one day, it seems preposterous. If I didn’t know that I wrote the truth, I would believe I was being delusional in thinking I could do that much in a fifteen-eighteen hour day. It almost made me tired to read it.
In a recent blog, I shared how I was trying to sort through things as I prepared to get ready for laminate flooring on our main floor. The floor is now laid and looks wonderful. We look forward to easier cleaning and the fresher air with the dust-laden rugs gone. Box by box, I bring the contents of my drawers back in the house, sort them into Keep, Give Away and Throw Away piles. With a pile of perhaps 18 boxes at the most, one would think a week should accomplish the task. However, with medical appointments, committee commitments, family involvement, daily exercise necessary for my health, telephone calls—including those pesky sales calls—and many more interruptions, the days just don’t seem long enough. Or is it that I’m like my grandma—I’m just as busy as ever but I don’t get half as much done. Of course my day no longer starts at 5:30 or 6 a.m. and I seem to wear out before 9:30 or 10 p.m., the time I used to quit my work. Suddenly, I understand that although Grandma was laughing at herself, she was telling the honest truth.
No matter what age we are, we need to do face the facts of life. The fact is we need to do it over and over again. Someone has said that no matter what stage of life we are at, we begin it inexperienced and have to learn over again how to be and live in the present stage in which we find ourselves. What is appropriate and possible at one stage isn’t fitting in another. What was difficult and seemed impossible in one period, comes with ease in another. Some things can be carried on from one phase to another, but others must be left behind.
All my life I had a long list of things that were important to me, things I wanted to experience, be involved in, be able to serve and to be able to enjoy. I worked with great enthusiasm to accomplish as many things as possible on that list. I found much enjoyment and fulfillment as more and more of those items on my list came to pass. Often along the way I also discovered a few more things to add to the list. The world is full of wonderful things to do.
With advancing years and age, limitations sometimes restrict the ability to accomplish all we had hoped for. So do we quit? I can’t say that I have done that yet. The list is still there, but I’ve pared it down to a more realistic panorama. I’ve reevaluated what is really important and what could be of lasting value. I’ve sorted these also into Keep Doing, Pass the Torch and Let it Go piles.
My mind went back to watching my dear mother-in-law aging and then waiting to pass through that gossamer curtain to fly into eternity.
A soul is born –
birthed from protective womb,
yet still cocooned
in parental love.
Clawing at life,
we struggle to be free,
to stretch our wings,
to be ourselves.
wisdom seeks entry,
until in the end
to be beautifully content
as part of the cycle of life
and we let go-
freed to fly home.
Ruth Smith Meyer
“I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands.” Psalm 31:14-15
Author of Not Easily Broken, Not Far from the Tree, Tyson's Sad Bad Day
Contributor to the anthologies, Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider, Grandmothers' Necklace, Fifty Shades of Grace.
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