“The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little stardust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.”
Henry David Thoreau, Walden
I blurted out something to my husband the other night that I couldn’t believe I was saying out loud.
“I miss the young me.”
He seemed surprised by the confession so I tried to explain how lately I’ve been trying to come to terms with the fact that the season referred to as “mid-life” has come upon me.
I can’t deny it any longer.
Sometimes my youth feels like it’s fizzling out, like the last flash of light from a falling star. My body, my mind, my priorities – everything seems to be changing at a frightening pace.
The question is, how will I handle these changes?
I know I cannot turn back the clock but I do have a choice in my attitude. I have seen some people who appear to have grown old before their time and others who have embraced the years so gracefully you would hardly believe their age if they told you.
I want to be like the latter, whose lives continue to exude the vibrancy of youth. Those who have learned the ancient secrets of living and living well. But how?
The questions keep turning. What do I do with this older me?
I turn to the One who holds the answers and His word lights the way. In Psalm 92:14, the righteous are compared to a strong tree and I read this:
“They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.”
There is a lot of hope communicated in that verse. So, when we follow the Lord, rather than see middle age as the beginning of the end, we can look forward to a life of purpose.
Some time ago, I heard about the Veterans History Project. It is a great idea I think to record the memories and experiences of those who have served our country. I saw a story online from the Orlando Sentinel just yesterday that talked about how the University of Central Florida is contributing to this by interviewing veterans from their area and a quote from one of them jumped out at me.
One of the project coordinators, UCF assistant history professor Barbara Gannon said that “a common thread runs through the interviews with veterans, no matter when they served: They acknowledge that terrible things happened in war, but they also take great pride in their service. One soldier described his military experience as ‘the best worst thing that ever happened to me.’“
I’m sure the older and wiser among us could probably look back on their days and say the same thing as this veteran. And, when I consider my own history, the ups and downs of my life thus far, I wonder how God can take all the beauty and mess of my journey and turn into something good.
But I know he can. And when I read Isaiah 46:4, I can almost hear God’s voice gently speaking these comforting words:
“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
I know that someday I will look back and realize that this business of growing older was “the best worst thing that ever happened to me” (emphasis on best). Because I know that every day is a gift and that God is sustaining me, guiding me safely home.
And, in the meantime, causing me to catch “a little stardust” along the way.