Poem about wearing purple and red hats when we are old.
(Notes: We’ve no money for butter. Practice a little now so that when I am old people won’t be surprised.)
I’ve been practicing ‘being old’ for a long time. Even when I was in my mid teen years I was practicing being old. I loved to listen to Elevator Music. Not all the time but often enough that my best friend Debbie (who now calls herself Deb) shrugged and scoffed when she got in my car….’change the radio station, not that Elevator crap again.’
By 19 I was spending most evenings sitting with a stack of magazines clipping recipes and eating the appropriate snack with my mother (popcorn by the fire in winter, ice-cream with the breeze coming in the back window in the summer).
As a newly married woman I still behaved like an older woman. I wanted to picnic in the shade rather than hike to see a waterfall. Unfortunately I tamed the man I married who would have rather hiked than lounge and now he is 50+ pounds heavier reflecting our ‘old’ lifestyle.
I’ve been several years without hair color now. You have no idea how excited I was when I found a book entitled ‘Going Gray’. There really is something so freeing about not covering, hiding or pretending to be any younger than I really am.
There are several areas of my life that are only now open to the possibility of aging appropriately. This last year has been a battleground for me with the concept of productivity. But I am learning to live, breath and experience this life of love more spontaneously as I have stepped off of the treadmill of busy-ness. It’s a daily struggle. Every new pleasure I allow myself sparks a new vision of how this could turn into a job or a ministry. I can’t help but think of the other women that would love to experience the art classes, writers groups, girlfriend getaways to the beach, silent retreats, and walks in the neighborhood ending with a glass of wine on the back patio. Some days I don’t get a single chore done, unless you count feeding myself a chore.
I like getting old. I’ve been preparing for it my whole life. I’m glad I practiced these wonderous old lady practices gradually. It might have been a shock otherwise.
Prompt: Close your eyes, look at the whole of your life, think of moments you could see God’s hand at work.
Second Chapter of Acts was playing on my cd player. Not the chapter from the Bible, the singing group from the 70’s. Hymns sung by two women and a man in beautiful harmony, albeit very outdated. That’s the funny thing about Hymns though, they never really seem to be outdated.
I was home alone and cleaning the house so I turned the music up loud enough to hear from every corner of it’s 2400 square feet. I was sometimes singing along and sometimes focused on what I was doing and then all of a sudden I heard myself singing aloud familiar words but it seemed like I had never heard them before. “Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee, How great Thou art….”. I paused and looked out the second story window and saw the squirrel hole near the top of one of the large oak trees on our property there in suburban Austin, TX. Two young squirrels were scurring in and out in what appeared to be a game of hide and seek. The sky was light blue with a few fluffy clouds drifting by, the clouds always seemed to be going somewhere in Texas. And then I listened again to the words of that chorus in the context of the verses but more importantly in the context of my life.
I had become increasingly aware of my soul. The deepest part of me. The weekly counseling sessions, sometimes with my husband but often without him, were training me to examine what was going on inside me. Unfortunately most of what I found was quite discouraging. I found excruciating pain that I had tried to tell myself was just ‘the way life is’. Damage done by those who had vowed to love me, inadvertent harm by those who really did want to give me the best they had but found themselves unable to follow through. And the hardest to face; the self-inflicted wounds of a stubborn woman desperate to remain independent.
This counselor was the last attempt to make sense of my failed Christian experience. I couldn’t deny there was a God and it made sense that He sent His Son and left His written Word but it didn’t ‘work’ for me. I had failed to figure it out or obey the guidelines well enough to have that abundant life it professed to provide. I was just starting to have some hope that it wasn’t Christianity that had failed me but that I had really falsely understood the message. Months of facing all the ugly, negative truth were leading me to seeing how great the need really was to find and experience God. I was listening and singing along to the old Hymns cd largely to try to reinforce what I hoped was true but not sure I experienced.
That’s when those words hit me like a ton of bricks. ‘Then sings my SOUL….’ Not my voice, not my mind, not my heart even. My soul. The tears started to pour from my eyes. My soul had indeed been singing out to me, so faintly at times I didn’t hear it but my soul was trying to tell me but more importantly Him….How great Thou art. I couldn’t deny it, I couldn’t run from it. Maybe it’s true that all those years ago the prayers of a nine year old little girl opened the door to the Spirit of God and He was there deep inside all along. Maybe that explains the conviction and torment as I tried to go my own way. The people who crossed my path at just the right time to remind be there is hope, there is reason to persevere.
This moment alone in my house, on my knees picking up toys, eyes turned toward the sky was a turning point. He is there deep inside whispering through my groans, reminding me of His goodness and His presence, proclaiming His greatness. The moments are rare but they are little tastes of the banquet to come when I no longer have to walk by faith but will have full sight of the One who loves me and will never let me go.