Young Inside?

“We are always the same age inside.” Gertrude Stein, American author. It seems somewhat true, but always is a pretty strong word. When an oldster is using Velcro instead of laces for his shoes and is harboring arthritis all over his body, how young does he feel; inside?

I have all four of my extremities working out in physical therapy (PT) now and I feel all of my 77 years inside and out. Of course Gertrude only lived to 72. Up to 72, my PT was limited to one body part at a time. I felt young outside and inside, so I get her drift.

On the other hand as it becomes more obvious to us with age that humans decay over time, I think our lives can be richer appreciating God’s gift of life each day.

Gestures?

“You know a relationship has deteriorated past the point of salvage when one person detests another’s gestures.” Josephine Humphreys, an American novelist.

Wow. That would sure be simple. There are, I believe, gestures that annoy married couples with half a century of solid viability.

How about the gestures of continuous nighttime snoring in three octaves? How about the gestures of snapping down on those chips with enhanced clarity?

Past the point of salvage gestures? Perhaps emptying the entire joint bank account and moving to Tahiti? That might not be salvageable.

The Doing

“He who desires nothing, hopes for nothing, and is afraid of nothing, cannot be an artist.” Anton Chekhov, 19th century Russian dramatist.

Desires, hopes and fears? They touch me and compel me to write blogs, memoirs and fiction in God’s hands.

I can almost carry a tune. My drawings haven’t changed since I was 12, probably have gotten worse.

By the grace of God, I so enjoy the writing and others like you enjoy the reading. Thank God for sweet favors.

Speech?

“I am told that I talk in shorthand and then smudge it.” JRR Tolkien, renowned author of Lord of the Rings.

I live with the same problem. Give me some time to write and edit. Then you will find clarity and concise English.

But let me relate away from that keyboard and you might not be sure I am speaking English. I was better at the spoken word at 15 than I am at 77. So much for growth.

Others

“One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others.” Lewis Carroll, who gave us Alice in Wonderland.

Yes, it is good for my soul to help others in need. I think it’s true for all of us.

We are born demanding  and self-centered, but in maturing we generally point ever more outside ourselves. That was the beauty of a work-life in healthcare.

Here in my anectdotage I have the privilege of writing for you. What a delight. Thank you

Enchanting

I am looking out the rear second-floor window of our home office southward. The bright winter sun is glistening off the slightly wind-blown, green needles of a twenty-five-year-old pine.

We have been here 28 years. I can recall when that tree, along with several others, was planted on a small hill south of our property. A few months short of 78, I find the vibrant light and green pine needles lighten my day physically and spiritually.

It’s God’s handiwork. He has given purpose to our marriage and our lives. He continues to paint beautiful images 150 feet beyond that window. It is enchanting.

The Gift of Travel

“The value of life deepens incalculably with the privileges of travel.”Nathaniel Parker Willis, 19th century American author.

It has been true of my experience, especially trips abroad. For some reason when I have traveled eastward across the Atlantic from the states there has always been a stop in Zurich, if only briefly. I have loved that city since I first visited in 1968, it’s beauty and it’s hospitality.

Many of the memories from the trips, particularly Jerusalem are indelible. The art, the antiquity and my strong sense for the presence of God made that city unforgettable for me.

Finally appreciating how much we are all alike and how much we differ deepened my appreciation for this wonderful gift of travel. It’s all good. Thank God I have been able to make the trips.

Change

“It’s not easy to subdue the overweening ego in order to free the adventuresome soul.” Parker J. Palmer, American author.

Oh, those mixed motives. We all possess the mixture. How does the dark side affect our loved ones? Badly.

My journey is to help my lesser self diminish and optimize my better self in the hands of God in this era of the selfie. I need to grow old gracefully despite my hearing becoming worse, my joint mobility eroding, and the number of my brain cells diminishing.

Of one thing, I am certain. I can’t do it without the Lord’s help. To the extent I can follow Him, I think even my old age will have that adventuresome quality of which Mr. Palmer speaks.

Mystery

“Writing is a mysterious activity.” Susan Sontag, the late American author.

I don’t get it. I wrote a short story in junior high that my teacher published and a poem that a high school instructor particularly liked.

I cannot do sophisticated physics and was challenged by organic chemistry. But give me a chance to write fiction or nonfiction and the piece is usually appreciated, thank God.

I have learned writing techniques, rules and guidelines, but, at its heart, why people enjoy my writing is a mystery.

That Last Quarter

I am two weeks and two days short of the ninth anniversary of my retirement. I remember struggling with whether I should work on Saturdays late in my career when it seemed necessary. Technology had not helped diminish my weekly hours making it far easier and tempting to work at home on Saturdays. At one point I even considered laboring on Sundays but, thank God, my spouse, Kristine, quickly talked me out of it.

I cannot describe how gratifying it was to walk out of my office on that last day of work. It was almost like the world had been lifted off my shoulders.

On the other hand, it wasn’t long before various systems in my body were beginning to slow down and decay. I am a victim of inbreeding as a 100 percent Ashkenazi Jew.

My paternal grandparents were cousins. Not a good thing. I am slowly feeling the effects of that now approaching 78 years of age in less than five months.

By God’s grace, he found Kristine and me almost 38 years ago. It’s made the road more tolerable and more peaceful. She is the love of my life and He is our savior.