I remember reading years ago that 40 was an awful age because it was somewhere during that year that you woke up one morning and realized that your body was turning against you. I must not have been 40 yet, because I remember laughing. I mean, really laughing! Turning against you? As if it had a mind of its own? (Think about that one for a while and it will tie you in knots!) Well, whoever said that was surely neurotic or melodramatic or fighting a very bad migraine or all of the above. Because mine was going to be just fine, thank you. Mind over matter. Age is just a state of mind. Life begins at 40. All that stuff. There. See? It's fine.
And then. . .I opened my eyes one morning and then closed them really fast because I realized: my body had turned against me. Okay, so I was closer to 46 and it wasn't all in one morning, but the suddenness was startling. What happened and in what order isn't important to recount here; what's important is admitting that it really does feel like the betrayal of an old and trusted friend when it happens. And whether it happens in a morning or over five years, it's no less traumatic. That loyal friend, that companion on life's journey suddenly becomes the adversary, the obstacle to all that still lies out there to accomplish. You can't go on without it; you can't trade it in on a newer model; you can't call in the warranty; and so you slowly come to the conclusion that you must drag it 'round as best you can and adjust life around it in a myriad of ways until you call a truce. Trouble is, once you've called the truce the terms are liable to change without notice. And the negotiating starts all over.
To those of you who haven't yet awakened to that forty-year-old morning, this may all sound humorous. . .and many days, it is. But for me, there is a weariness in it, a longing for rest. I don't mean that to sound morbid. I believe that there's purpose in the weariness. In it I'm reminded that there is a reality that overshadows this life. . . .that I mustn't become too comfortable in a land where I travel with alien status. God knows that, at least for some of us, too much comfort means, well, too much comfort. When I'm too much "at home" in this earthly shell, it's time to be reminded that I'm waiting for a new body, one that will never have to have diseased parts removed and replaced with titanium and plastic ones. Someday I won't swallow a mouthful of pills to keep hot flashes or depression at bay or keep blood sugar down and iron levels up. But in the meantime, I have the unspeakable privilege of calling for help from the Great Physician and leaning on Him for the grace to get through each day. Even when it starts with a morning where I'm scared to open my eyes. . . .
(If you'd like to read the comments of my best friend, my daughter, and my dear husband, they're here.)