And then something happened…I got old.
Okay, not really old; but older.
When? I can’t really say. I was too busy living to notice. Until recently, I was oblivious. Then, my husband turned fifty in January, and I am 18 months behind him. Our two sons are grown. One is married; the other in college. We live by ourselves. Alone.
At first, I was sad. Where have the last twenty years gone? I wish someone would have told me to stop and pay attention because it goes by in a blur. Actually, I think someone did tell me but I was too busy to stop and pay attention. And it went by in a blur.
After a few months of living alone, without any kids in the house, I am feeling something new. What is this new feeling? Could it be freedom? I think it is and I am beginning to embrace this new stage in life. Slowly, but I am.
After all, isn’t that what life is…a series of stages or phases that we all go through more or less at the same times?
We go to school, we graduate, we go to college, or not, and then we get jobs. We get married, we have kids, and then they grow up. They move out, and we’re alone again. We have some time to ourselves, grandkids come along, and if we are lucky, we stay healthy and busy and watch our children and grandchildren go through these same stages as well. And we say we have wisdom, but what we really have is experience from our own mistakes and regrets.
And there are ups and downs, dreams realized and dreams lost along the way. Children die young and their devastated parents are left to cope and figure out how to keep moving when the stages are out of order. Spouses die and leave widows and widowers to live out their days alone, remembering the past and wishing things could have been different.
What are we to make of it all? When our hearts ache and loneliness is our constant companion? When our grief is unbearable and our burdens are too heavy a load?
I come back to what I always come back to…Jesus. Only He can carry our burdens and ease our pain and suffering. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, and my answer to everything.
But I also think we must do our best to live our lives with a grateful heart. For all days are a blessing; a gift, and tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us. We must stop and pay attention and make the most of our days so that we live without regrets.
And we must love… our spouses, our kids, our families, our neighbors, our communities, our country and our God.
Because in the end, three things remain: faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love.
Written by: Connie Morgenroth
March 10, 2014
In response to The Daily Prompt: The Golden Years