As I Age

As I age, I am watching the generation before me in their last days. Mentors becoming frail. The invincible, seem fragile. All those I looked up to are more human, somehow. Weaker as their bodies fail them. They always were human of course, but in my youth, I rarely saw that. My eyes were full of admiration. I watched them, knowingly and unknowingly. Seeing how they lived. Absorbing it. Letting them rub off on me. Then, trying to emulate them. There are so many who have influenced me along life’s journey.  

At the celebration of life service for my youth pastor, I reconnected with old friends. We love each other still, even after years apart. We belong to each other, mostly because of this one man. He is the one who helped us navigate the teen years. Not the only one, but the most exuberant to be sure. And he is one we spent a great deal of our time with.

We all know our mentors cannot live forever. It is no secret the world keeps turning and we only have so many trips around the sun. But as I reflect, I see repeatedly, how important it is to pay respects. But, I also wonder if waiting until afterwards is the correct time to do it. We all tell the families how much their loved one meant to us. We all share our stories. But did the one who passed know? Could we have reached out and told them before they were gone? Have we forgotten how nice it is to hear we have touched the lives of others?

Maybe there is a different way to go about this remembering thing. Maybe think of who impacted our lives the most and write them a note. Make a call. Text them. It doesn’t have to be hard, eloquent, or time consuming. Just an acknowledgement. A boost to lighten their load as they near the end of their lives. Something to let them know they matter and that we will carry them with us even after they are gone.  

As I reflect I also think if we knew how much others loved our people, we might see them differently. We would see their effect on the world and how they impact those around them. The little things would stay little and the big things would matter more. We might be less caught up in the busyness of life and appreciate our spouse more. Or we might see our grown children with new eyes, if we knew who they are influencing for the better. We might find our parents are wiser than we thought. My point is, take the time to look around. Notice. We are all influencers in one way or another. Those closest to us are as well. Learning to see them as such, before they are gone, is something reach for.

Frailty of body, doesn’t mean weakness. Some of the strongest people I know currently are some of the most feeble. Which is all the more reason to sit with them. To tell them. To be near. To pay respect to our loved ones before they are gone, not after.

5 thoughts on “As I Age

  1. Thanks, Michelle. The wisdom of my parents and parents-in law was so much more apparent to me in their old age. Hurriedly, my eager note-taking was an effort to grasp and hold every precious gem of it. – luv, mary

  2. Michelle, I’m currently working in an assisted-living facility. I split the hours every week between official nursing hours that are my job and volunteer hours simply because my “extra” time with them is so life-giving both ways. I am learning SO much from these precious souls in their last years of life. Just sat with one dear 90+ year old sister-in-Christ yesterday and gleaned more wisdom and joy from that single 15 minute conversation than I will from a dozen other folks all week long. She has become my friend in less than six months, and I remind her regularly that she is dear and loved and appreciated and I’m so thankful she is alive! Your words are true….and right….and lovely. Thanks for the reminder, and I hope many of your readers heed YOUR wisdom!

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