I wearily walked to my car, tired but gratified. With paint brush in hand and red paint in the can I had just finished coating a stairwell in the youth center building that accomodates a ministry to teens in our home town. A church friend worked with me, and the time went quickly as we chatted and tried to maintain even, get-close-to-the-edge-without-smudging-the-wall brush strokes. I extracated the cell phone from my front jeans pocket to call my husband to say I was on the way home. A key pad had inadvertently been pressed into calling mode and as I glanced at the postage size screen I convinced my naked eye (didn't bother to also extracate the reading glasses from another pocket) that the call was merrily microwaving its way to my spouse. When a women's voice answered with an uptalk "hello" I knew I wasn't making the right connection. Do I hang up? Do I babble, hoping to identify the callee? Do I say I have the wrong number? I said "hello", she said "hello" again and I hung up. Not much stays private when it comes to cell phones. My mind quickly thought through two truths; she could trace my number eventually and it had to be someone in my contact list. I checked my outgoing calls and realized I had sprung a call to a friend far away who I hadn't talked to for a long time. Let's make the most of my phone flub-up, I reasoned. So I dialed her again, greeting her with gusto this time and explained why I was calling. Her response was warm and sympathetic, acknowledging her own similar slip-ups. The faux-pas had turned into bonding time with a buddy.
I know misdialing phones isn't partial to those worried about bone density or who cash social security checks, but senior living does bring more gaffes and laughs at oneself. The stories my peers tell! Of searching for items and finding them later in weird and unlikely places-the trunk of the car, the bottom of a purse used everyday...and not remembering how they reached that destination.
Now that I've arrived at this era of life there are some things I didn't know before when I was thinking this time was still far away. That it could be a time for new humor because I have peers who identify with me-I'm not alone in my over the hill excursion. That I still believe I have lots to live for and I can hold on to the dreams not yet realized or embrace new ones because life responsibilities change. I like a quiet house, less housework, fewer laundry days and long hours of visiting with friends. We've replaced disjointed conversations interrupted by clamoring kids with peaceful discourses on any subject we choose. I didn't know I'd have all these cool devices to keep me connected to family far away, or to keep me occupied with apps, ebooks and movies I can hold in my hand.
I also, didn't know how important it would be to have the example of those who are aging gracefully to blaze the trail ahead. My precious mother-in-law just suffered a stroke this weekend. In spite of garbled speech, she quickly recovered her wit, communicating in winking, smiling and nodding. Just the day before we had had a phone conversation where she encouraged me by her optimism and contentment.
I did know about and was hoping for that wisdom that comes to those who have lived longer and experienced many mountain tops and valley lows. I think it's showing up at times. When someone younger asks for advice or when I don't freak out as often with overwhelming windfalls of worry at troublesome circumstances. When I'm more sure about the foundational truths of my belief in our awesome God; a greater surety that gives me freedom to be more vulnerable to others and to trust that I won't be 'taken captive by every wind of doctrine' if I dare to love those who don't yet know their Creator. I don't have to have all the answers or make sure I get my point across.
2 Timothy 1:12 puts it this way:
...I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I've comitted unto him against that day. KJV
...For I know the one in whom I have placed my confidence, and I am perfectly certain that the work he has committed to me is safe in his hands until that day. JB Phillips
...but I am not ashamed, because I know Jesus, the One in whom I have believed. And I am sure he is able to protect what he has trusted me with until that day. NCV
...Still I am not ashamed, for I know (perceive, have knowledge of, and am acquainted with) Him Whom I have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on), and I am [positively] persuaded that He is able to guard and keep that which has been entrusted to me and which I have committed [to Him] until that day. AMP
Growing older is aching muscles and age spots and well, what you'd expect. But God is faithful to us in this stage of life and the plans he has for us haven't changed; those plans to prosper and not to harm, plans to give us a future and a hope. Anyone else in for the long haul with promises like that?!
Now, where did I leave my cell phone???