Friday, February 7, 2014

A Woman at Age 61

Susannah Conway turned 41 this week and celebrated her milestone with many blog sisters posting about aging. As I read through the posts, the unsettled feeling that has been plaguing me over the past year began stirring. I remember turning forty with all its hopes and transitions and open spaces to dream.

But now I am sixty-one. Even typing the words feels strange. There are things about turning 61 that nobody told me, such as the threat of losing the ability to dream. Dreams are a part of the DNA of hope. Hope is vital to living with intention and zeal. I found it a bit of a shock when I realized time to do some of the things I've always dreamed of doing is running out. The ability to change careers or homes or life direction becomes more limited. Fear of losing a partner becomes a possibility rather than something that may happen down the road. Stress begins to show up more readily in the wrinkles of my face. Physical problems wear me down more easily. A nap in my chair is a necessity on some days rather than a luxury.

Many of my friends have undergone incredibly difficult circumstances in 2013. At a time when I thought we would be enjoying life, perhaps traveling, laughing, experiencing new adventures, many of us were fighting for survival, undergoing unexpected tests of faith.

There are years that ask questions and years that give answers. Then there are years marked by transition when it is simply not easy to find solid footing, knowing what defines one's life in this place and time.

In the year and a half spent in my sixties, I am learning to open my hands, letting go over and over again, and open my heart to a compassion born out of brokeness. Material things have lost their glow as well as the need to accomplish something each and every day. I count it a good day when I have experienced peace, practiced gratitude, and know my family is safe and well.

My books are my treasures, my journal is my go-to, and my time with Jesus every morning is my sacred space. Joy springs up in me when I talk to one of my children or grandchildren. Complexities have given way to simplicity.

If it is the Lord's will that I am alive today, I breathe and I rejoice.

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