Age is just a number, right? At least, that’s what I have always declared. I love birthdays, that of mine or anyone else. Birthdays are a celebration of life and anticipation of another year, no matter what it brings.
I had an attractive friend who cried the whole day on her fortieth birthday. She looked in the mirror and said, “Blah! Forty!” She salted her scrambled eggs with her tears, and wailed, “Forty!” She even wept at the party her friends threw for her. For Sandy, turning forty was a tragedy. I wanted to remind her that she was only one day older than yesterday. I don’t think there is a way to skip from thirty-nine to forty-one. There is no alternative to becoming forty. It is forty or nothing.
I have never minded growing older, believing that age has to do with attitude and mind and heart. However, though I don’t mind being older, I’ve discovered I do mind feeling older. All of a sudden, my body can no longer keep up with mind, my wishes, and desires. I am mad! I feel betrayed! I had such marvelous plans for this season of life. Those plans are no longer feasible, at least for the moment.
My Mom was a feisty little thing always on the go. With a twinkle in her eye and laughter in her voice, she announced that she was going to live to be one hundred. She didn’t, but the days she did live, she lived with purpose and joy setting an example for those of us who loved her. I have an image of Mama indelibly stamp on my heart. She sits on the side of her bed, early in the morning, dressed in her soft pink robe, her white hair mussed from sleep, her Bible open her lap. What an example!
Mama lived with me the last few months of her life. She was fragile, but she had a mind of her own. I tried my best to take good care of her making sure that she was clean and comfortable and had nutritious meals, but if she didn’t want it, she didn’t want it. She hated oatmeal, sometimes hiding it in a paper towel in her robe pocket. She detested the handful of pills that were forced upon her each day, and shower water pelting down on her was worse than death.
Finally, her little body just wore out. When it was clear that she was dying, with broken heart, I reminded her of her promise to live to be one-hundred. She squeezed my hand and said, “That’s one promise I cannot keep.”
Tomorrow, March 23rd, will have been my Mother’s 118th birthday. She was born in 1900 to Mary Ballentine and John Fullerton, in Whitewright, Texas. She was the eighth in a family of nine children. They named her Maggie Lou. She would forever detest her name saying, she would rather be called “Doggie.”
After her death, we took Mama home to Arizona and buried her between Daddy and our brother, Henry. At the end of the service, after family and friends had paid their respects, my four siblings and I stood by the coffin to say our last “good-byes.”
“Happy Birthday, Mama,” Lincoln said tenderly.
It was March 23rd, Mama’s eighty-ninth birthday, and though we sorrowed and the tears flowed, I suspect, for Mama, it was the happiest of birthdays. No more pills, no more showers, no more oatmeal, and best of all, after a journey spanning almost a century, she was finally home.
So, what do I do? Do I give up, because my body betrays me? Do I lie on the sofa all day with novel in hand munching on bonbons? At the age of eighty-two, I suppose I have the right.
Still, I have never lived like that. I can’t begin now. Surely God has a plan for the rest of my days, and He does.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV), “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
My future may not be as I imagined it, but God, our creator, has not run out of ideas, and His are so much better than mine.
At this point, I have no idea what the future holds, but I’m kind of excited. I will not be idle. Will there be rough patches? I am certain of it! How will I handle the bad times?
Deuteronomy 33:25 says, “…As your days, so shall your strength be.”
2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
These scriptures assure me God will give me supernatural strength for whatever comes my way, both the good and the bad. I am weak, but He is strong.
Therefore, I am looking forward to growing older, celebrating more birthdays, and living out God’s good plan with hope for the future.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAMA!
REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!