June 08, 2010

Walking at 81

Learning to walk at 81 is no fun. After you learned to walk at age 1 you think that lesson is far behind you. But my father-in-law, Bill is learning to walk for the second time. 

Without the ability to swallow, his meals consist of chalky protein drink pumped directly into his stomach. Without the ability to speak, his words consist of grunts and unintelligible vowel sounds. 

The heart is more or less repaired but the brain must be retrained after the major stroke struck out a large part of the processing power. 

I have never been more aware of Jesus' words when he said, "The truth is, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked and go wherever you wanted to. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will direct you and take you where you don't want to go." John 21:18. 

Is that an infant or an old man that is being spoken of? It could be either, couldn't it? And thus the "circle of life", the grand return to the grand entrance which in reality is also the grand exit; the child who became a parent who ends up being cared for like a child by his child. This is the reality of life. 

Yet in the midst of the misery there is an insuppressible joy to be found. As an infant it's nothing but a blank sheet of life ahead. As an elder, the paper is filled with the joys you have created. The daughter holding your hand, the granddaughter kissing your forehead, your favorite pictures of friends and accomplishments hanging on the walls, the memories of songs, travels, and loves filling your mind.    

If you have lived well, you can smile from memories, as you learn to walk again. 
If you are living well, you can smile at the blank page of eternity which also looms ahead. 

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