Beliefnet
Safe Place with Ruth Graham

My car is old – 13 years old…216,000 miles old…it has a cassette player old…. Things are beginning to break down. For instance my CD player is broken. I loved to listen to audio books as I trek up and down the Interstate but my player eats the CDs. I did finally discover that if one got stuck and I pushed eject and grabbed the CD with needle-nose pliers, I could retrieve the CD! You can’t do it while you are driving – it takes 2 hands!

The rubber gasket around my sun roof is finished but it isn’t leaking. The plastic tray in the back where I put my groceries is broken. I kept the different pieces as they fell off. The A/C is broken, sort of.  It would work for a few miles then turn hot. I turned it off and waited several miles and turned it back on – cool air would flow! Not a good problem this week in the heat as I drove to NC to be with my father.

I love my car…but it is telling me something. It is time to retire it. I plan to give it a good home but I admit, I am sad. This car is the only one my grandchildren have known… It took me to Philadelphia when my daughter called to say there was something seriously wrong with her new-born. It took me to my Mother’s funeral. It picked me up at the airport more times than I can count.

In other words, I have memories with this car. It’s like a member of the family. I’ll get another one and make memories with it. After all, it is only a thing. But have you seen car prices?!! Even used ones…

So…

Aging….is not for sissies! Things begin to leak, bulge, droop, sprout, wrinkle … Unfortunately things don’t fall off – like weight – but seem to hop on for the ride! On top of it all, things don’t work like they used to or if they do work, they ache! Reading glasses are a necessity to do the simplest things. Younger people treat me like I’m old – but I don’t feel like I should be old. Memory begins to face challenges… No. Aging is not for sissies.

But we will all have to deal with it. Either the aging of our parents or our friends and ourselves. Age is part of life. It keeps marching toward us whether we like it or not. No potion, lotion, capsule or surgeon’s knife can prevent the inevitable. And I can’t just go out and buy a newer model. I am what I am and where I am.

But I am glutted with memories. There is value in my years. And the best antidote for age is attitude. Youth seems to be attracted to  gratitude, enthusiasm, joy.

I have a friend who is the most negative person I know. They are afraid of dying. They are afraid they don’t have enough money. They are afraid they will be left all alone. They are afraid their health will fail. They are afraid they’ll have to be in a nursing home. They are afraid! And not enjoying the life they have left. It is so sad. I can be serif of this person has it was of another, “She dies at 35 but we buried her at 75!”

Having been to India this year I can make a long list of things to be grateful for! Just having clean water…my own space…plenty of food…

Yes, as we age, there are unpleasant things we have to deal with. What will my attitude be? Face it with good humor and grace? Or grumble and complain? I have a few friends with whom I compare aging notes – that’s one way you can tell you are getting older. You conversations are peppered with tales of ailments and doctor’s visits!

But there is more…so much more. Grandchildren! (Mine will all be here this 4th of July. That will provide some fireworks!) Friends who are traveling the same path. Life’s work and encouraging reports of what God is doing around the globe. Stimulating books and conversation over good coffee. It’s OK to take a nap in the middle of the day. I no longer feel I have to “measure up” – I am free to be myself – and I like myself! I don’t have to have all the answers – I just know the One Who does.

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