There are so many subjects to write about regarding aging and all the fun of it…or pain of it.  Every month something new comes up regarding this season of life.  For November, I wanted this entry to include thanksgiving, because we all know that gratitude does wonders for the heart, mind, and body!  But sometimes, finding gratitude for the aging process isn’t the easiest or most reflexive thing to do. I’ve found that pushing the panic button is easier, and sometimes what I do way too often.

I hear about one more friend with a heart issue about to have heart surgery, and the panic button gets pushed, wondering about who will be next, and what does the future hold…except a dying body closer to the grave.  Pretty pitiful, right?  It happened just this week when a text came through about a cousin my age having a triple bypass!  However, today I talked with another friend that was sharing with me the success of a heart procedure on a 13-year old young man.  So age isn’t really a reason to panic and neither is heart disease, is it?  I’m pretty sure it says somewhere in the Good Book that all of our days are numbered and we aren’t to worry about tomorrow…

I read about a friend that’s placing her mom in a facility for those with dementia, and I remember how hard it was with my husband’s mom, as we too put her “away.”  

(photo courtesy of Doug Gephardt)

All feelings of guilt arise, and then if we let our minds wander further down the foggy path, we’re panicking that we too may one day end up in a one-room place with a chair, if we’re lucky.  But I’m pretty sure the Good Book says nothing of luck or fate, but rather of provision and peace…even in the middle of some pretty intense storms.  Though minds and bodies may fail, our relationship with Him is intact, and for that’ I’m so grateful!

I watch my kids as they make vacation plans with friends, head out for fun family days with their kids, and arrive home tired at night with homework, make lunches, prepare for work the next day, and I panic about become more and more obscure in their world.  Pity parties start to form in the rooms of my mind until my entire thought-house is full of banners and balloons of doom in dark shades of black and gray.  However, I’m pretty sure the Good Book tells us to continue to give cheerfully all of our days, expecting nothing in return except the satisfaction of knowing we’re obeying that mandate to lay down our lives for others.  And I’m certain that joy rises up when we do, and those dark balloons pop, and color returns…to our world.

I just studied and taught a class on worship at my church where the majority of the attendees were “older” people, not any of the young couples with little kids.  I thought this morning how I was so disappointed in their lack of support of “my” generation and then…I remembered how when my kids were young I was busy, too.  Especially the weekends were full, with games and lessons and grocery shopping and more!  And I realized that they too might be disappointed in my generation in our judgment of them and our labels on them, like being entitled.  That same Good Book tells me that I’m loved all of my days and what I do is pleasing to him when I obey.  I then changed my thought process and decided that we all (the olders…) need to be an example of a worshipful community full of faith and vigor and compassion and love for all of those behind us.  They need our support, more than ever.  I can give it or whine in my seat, and wish to receive it.  I want to always be a giver…

What about you?  What causes you panic in the deepest parts of your mind?  Is it the future, how you’re going to make ends meet, if your kids are ever going to “come around,” or the fact that you too just received a diagnosis or your parent fell and now you’re the parent and they’re the child?  We are all in different seasons of life, some with leaves that are turning brown, and some with colors in full bloom.  But how silly it would be for leaves to panic!  Leaves are beautiful attached to branches, or dried and used for décor or covered in gold to make beautiful jewelry. They all originated from the vine and are never let go until it is time to move on to something more beautiful downstream…

I don’t want to panic. I want to live in peace.  I know it will be hard some days, but gratitude for the Good Book and what it says to all of us – be of good cheer – is what I want to have always.  Panicky peace is what I call starting to fall off the cliff and then realizing he’s got me firmly by the hand and I’m not going down until he’s ready to fly with me…not to a crash landing…but to a higher place.

Panicky Peace
by Marcy Lytle

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