To mark it, the husband and the daughter pulled off the most amazing surprise, the night before Easter at our favorite place with our favorite people. What an amazing event and how blessed I was! It was a slice of wonderful. My heart was so full! But, after the party, comes the growing older part…
Still. It's been a pretty great ten years.
As I contemplated sixty, there was no regret--no wishing I were 22 or 32 or 42 or even 52. I am not unaware that I am growing older. Lord knows. with the ridiculous amount of magnification needed to put on my make-up every morning, I can clearly see the lines and crevices on my once taut and dewy face. Every. One. Of. Them.
I stopped coloring my hair more nearly five years back and gave up high heels in lieu of flats for the most part over the last two or three. I've seen a chiropractor with some regularity for various ailments, from my back to my shoulders to my ankles. I conquered anemia and now am low on calcium and a little high on the cholesterol. Yes, a little schizophrenic, I know. I have repeatedly lost the same 15 pounds but, it keeps finding me. I do find that a little irritating, I confess.
I look back at photos when I was in my 20's and 30's. I didn't know it then, but, today they'd call me "hot". Who knew? As a younger woman, I was far more apt to compare myself unfavorably to others vs knowing that I had something unique and precious to offer, just by being myself, the one created exactly as she was intended to be. Additionally, I was living for myself, for the pleasures of this life vs living a life with the purpose that centers me today.
I guess you could say, for me, life really did "begin" at 40. Or, perhaps, it began anew. Reconciliation of a marriage, a return to the West Coast, sharing the responsibility of raising a daughter, navigating the trials and tribulations of said marriage and rebuilding a life together through all the perilous curves and detours along the way. To say it was often tumultuous would be a gross understatement. And yet, I knew that I had been called by the One who first called me His own. And so, I persevered, often on my knees, always trusting that He was faithful despite my weakness.
Thus began the road home. A road littered with both joy and disappointment, sorrow and laughter, anger and kindness, smiles and tears, but, also a stubborn tenacity. A road with mile markers called faith, hope and love. Along the way, love grew, prayers were answered, tears cleansed and wounds were healed. We pressed on in faith. We grew in grace and it was good.
So, when I look back, I wouldn't trade my flats for those beautiful heels, nor the grey for the striking brunette I used to be…not the extra pounds I've gained for the curves now blurred. I wouldn't trade the life I have, the faith I've gained, the wisdom gleaned or the contentment I feel for the idol known as youth. It's a facade I no longer feel compelled to keep up. I surrender. I am in a new place, a better place, the right place. I am not looking back with regret for that which has passed, but, instead, forward to that which I know will be immeasurably richer and fuller. It already is. An unexpected gift. Yes, contentment.
I embrace sixty. I acknowledge,without regret, that any sense of control is most certainty an illusion. I no longer expect "happily ever after" but treasure every moment of happiness, knowing it comes and it goes. I rest in the expectation that my God is in control and I am not. Entering one's seventh decade is a reminder that life is speeding by and that some traveling partners have, and will continue to, fall by the wayside. There are no guarantees that those I love will continue to walk alongside me or, for that matter, that I will be here to travel with them, come tomorrow. With this passing of time, sorrow and loss is inevitable.
Heaven is my destination and I'm headed there, sooner or later. Mostly, I hope it's later, but, I realize I don't get to choose, when or how. My goal is to be ready when He calls. For now, as the apostle Paul said, in his letter to the Philippians, " I press on...forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." I trust (as Paul continued in chapter three) "our citizenship is in Heaven…we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body.." Now that's something to look forward to.
Yes. I am pressing on, delighted to be at this stage of this journey He has planned for me. Grateful for every mountain and every valley, every struggle and every joy. All have been markers along the way that brought me to this place. And it's been a beautiful life thus far. A treasure.
So. Very. Grateful.