I turned 84 a couple of days ago, on May 18, and I have to admit, the number does give me something to think about. It has a certain heft to it, doesn’t it. I mean, I kind of made peace with the idea of being 83, but now here is life reminding me again--a bit more forcefully it seems to me--that hey, I really am aging.
JoAnn tries to comfort me, which I appreciate, of course. She is ten months older than me, you see, and made peace with being 84 long ago. “Don’t worry, it’s just a number,” she tells me.
Two things give me comfort as I face the reality of this grim situation. This morning, when I finally made up my mind to clean out the garage and restore order to a messy and, frankly, disgraceful situation—I’m ashamed how long I put up with the mess--my body rose to the occasion. It really did.
I flung myself into action with the enthusiasm of a young colt set loose in a meadow to run and play to its heart’s content. True, I was pretty darn tired when the job was done. I tottered into the living room and sat down in my chair in need of some serious rest.
I know unequivocally that my body will do its best for me until it takes it last breath, and I am immensely grateful for it. But to turn a bit more serious here, I know something else also.
There’s a big difference between my physical body and me. My body is aging, just like your body, and JoAnn’s body. But who I truly am is not aging, just as who you truly are is not aging.
We are spiritual beings who were never born and will never die. Yes, setbacks come in an outer sense as years pass. Illnesses and other challenges come, some minor, some major. Ultimately death itself comes. But who we truly are is untouched by any of it.
I am thankful for the privilege of aging, and the opportunity it brings to explore more deeply into what I believe is life’s greatest paradox—our bodies age, but our spirit is ageless. Last night, I was looking at a picture of myself taken on my mother’s lap when I was about two years old. My body was very different then. It was a child’s body. But the spirit I see shining through those child-like eyes—the sheer joy exuding from those eyes—has not changed at all.
My love is with you. If you have any thoughts on the above, please share.