Have you noticed how many people, especially aging people, like to talk about their aches, pains and physical problems? Sometimes there’s even a little pride like comparing heroic war wounds or something: “You think that’s bad? Well, get a load of this,” kind of exchange, as a person proceeds to pull up a pant leg and roll down a sock for the big reveal. As I age, the more I hear such things, have taken part of such things, and yet depart from these discussions less cheerfully. If you haven’t known an individual, or clusters of acquaintances complaining about health issues, you’ll most likely see plenty of posts and pictures on social media. There’s also the constant campaign of ads and commercials on medications. I think it’s safe to say there’s brokenness in our society over health, but the overwhelming need to chew over conditions without end can be equally draining.
I’m not referring to the serious diseases and terminal illnesses, afflictions and real medical emergencies that require our understanding and compassion, and that can also expand our testimonies. I mean the day-to-day discussions that seem to vie for center stage when they don’t need to and probably shouldn’t. Maybe it’s not you doing the talking, but you’d lived with a hypochondriac, or worked with a malingerer, for years; that can be its own sort of burden. The negative concentration after a great length of time can be a real drag, when everything about a person, or that comes out of their mouth, is about their ailments, mild, moderate, or imaginary. It's like a verbal mountain of affliction, and you’re caught on its strange and precarious ledge between feeling numb and hypersensitive. Whether it’s you or someone else, aside from trying to fix sincere problems or addressing them with prayer, dwelling on them can be a thought ravager and praise stealer.
God is a healer and restorer. He also desires our focus and attention. I’m not in denial that with aging comes decaying; this curse came with the Fall, our own undoing, that we all must endure. But it’s come to the forefront of how much I don’t want to focus on the process of pains but on praise. A small example would be if someone asked me how my day was going, and I answered, “Well, I got this pain in my hip, and when I move my wrist this way it pops, and I didn’t sleep very well last night…” and then junk is on the table. I don’t want to behave that way. Even if I’m hurting, I want to suck it up, work through it if I can, and not spread the psychological residue, the “crown” of physical discomfort. Instead, have an answer ready on my lips, “My day is good because God is good all the time. Praise the Lord. How are YOU?” Or “I’m still kickin’, thank the Lord–and thanks for asking! How’s YOUR day going?” I don’t want to whittle an opportunity to brighten someone else’s day by dwelling on problems, especially my problems. And if I need prayer, then why not just ask for it, then move on with thankfulness? Some days, I have a spring in my step. Some days, eh, not so much. I am learning the fine line between when to ask for (or offer) prayer and keep quiet being careful not to complain.
So when I’ve caught myself lately near joining the valetudinarian collective (such as beginning my last blog by explaining my recent bouts, and longing for my slipped youth), I hear the Lord say, “Stop. In your weakness, I am made strong,” with emphasis on WHO is made strong. The next time I’m feeling blue about getting older and dealing with aged issues (could be again tomorrow!)—the magic word, “Stop,” is followed by “Praise you, Lord. Prepare me for the best years of my life!” And also, to take special care to reporting glorious healings and answered prayers!
If you are upwards of age 50, I hope you embrace words of praise over pain. It’s okay to ask for prayer; we’re supposed to support each other and give good ear to listen with compassion and kindness. Give and receive. But at certain points, we might do well to fine-tune our focus, redirecting our thoughts from our bodies to Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who Heals. This is one I’ve heard a thousand times, but it never gets old: let go and let God. From the heart, out of the mouth, may we strive to put the Lord first in all things and linger there.
And this concludes my two- day/blog posts on age and body. I’m moving on.
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance and my God.”–Psalm 42:11
I’d had good luck in health without so much as a cold in a very long time. I guess you can say viral villains caught up to me in September when I got the flu followed by Covid. Knocked me off my feet. At one point I straggled to a mirror for a look-see, and muttered, “Aw, snap, this ain’t pretty.” At 52, I’m showing my age, and it’s not only when I’m sick. I got to thinking about these things while I was down. Although I stay active, I’ve learned I’m not as spry as I used to be. I used to be physically strong (for a five-feet-three-inch female, anyway), now I’m not as strong. I used to be limber, now I’m not. I’m the same person, just older, grayer, softer, rounder; and I’m tested with an old back injury.
Not for the faint of heart, yet it happens to all of us, aging. Gloom threatened to set in during my September stint; or you could call it fatigue, frustration, gut-punch, whatever. My thoughts drifted toward how my youth was disappearing; the best years have gone. But I got an instant rebuke from the Lord, who said, “No, the best years are yet to come, they are just ahead of you! Have you forgotten what I’ve promised you?” I had in that moment. “Your latter days will be better than your prior days, for I have a job for you to do—the biggest yet—and I will not only give you what you need and more, renewing your strength, increasing your joys, but I will excessively restore what the enemy has stolen in past years and seasons. I have so many gifts in store for you!” He also made a point of saying, “Let me remind you that this word is not just for you.” I had a hunch, because he often reminds me, so I’m sharing.
Psalm 103:5 came to mind, “Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”
I pondered on the themes and attributes of the eagle. Eagles are resilient, fearless, have keen eyesight, long lifespans, are strong and majestic, faithful, nurturing; represented in scripture to symbolize the righteous, rejuvenation, divine promises, vision, leadership, and more.
Here’s another more renown verse (Isaiah 40:29-31): “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
While we’re at it, I read a few others dealing with the aged and aging. I’m sure there are exhaustive Bible studies on elders, purpose, and hot ministry. Because even if our bodies rebel here and there, or on some days everywhere, if you’re called, HE covers. Age is just a number, and God’s vision is eternal.
Ruth 4:15: “He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age.”
Job 42:12: “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.”
Deuteronomy 34:7: “Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.”
Hosea 2:15: “There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor [trouble] a door of hope. There she will respond [sing] as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.”
Joel 2:28: “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams…”
The future isn’t just for the young and swift, not in God’s eyes. The future is for the aged, as well. Many are called. I believe we are approaching another, and maybe the last, Great Harvest, and the righteous of the Lord doing his work include on-their-toes happy elders: Yes, Sir! Yes, Ma’am!
Tomorrow, I plan on posting another age- and health-related blog. I hope you come back to check it out. In the meantime, fly like an eagle.
Everyone has a voice, but do we need to use it? Sometimes. But sometimes we use it way too much. When heated opinions take center stage. One roars like a lion until the other roars in response. Pretty soon, everybody is roaring. If everybody is roaring, we can’t hear each other. We cancel each other out, leaving nothing except loud chaos and whirling anger, with the risk of manifesting into damaging animosity.
Sometimes… sometimes a period of silence is good medicine. Next time someone roars at you with something to prove, consider taking a step back. To meditate, pray, refresh, and explore better and more effective options before we run each other into the ground. Or maybe welcome a respite and allow the Lion of Judah to handle the issues of the day instead of taking matters into our own hands. Try letting go (note to self).
“The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”—Exodus 14:14
Just something to chew on other than the sinews of those we’d consider our opponents; because the climate has been sounding extra shrill. Have a silent day.
“Never listen to your critics. They aren’t qualified to usurp the still, small, voice that speaks in the silence between your own thoughts.”—Russ Walden
It takes courage to write truths in fiction; write what hurts. To contextualize emotions, the struggles; tapping into the raw nature and grind of real life and transposing them into an altered universe. The result might not represent a true existence verbatim, but can harbor the angst, dilemmas, struggles, and sicknesses of hope-depleted hearts in order to instill hope in the end. It can be scary sometimes to release a story that holds a little more truth than you’d care to admit. Makes one feel vulnerable. But it’s always the still, small voice, a reminder that what’s written might be intended for one person only. And that one person to get it, feel moved and encouraged by your labor of love, washes over any potential collection of critics, large or small.
Writing with boldness, listening with care…
At last, I finished the first draft of one of my current works-in-progress. And this novel was a struggle. One of the biggest hurdles in my creative writing process, both in length and ethics. Took over a year to complete—a COVID-year, mind you, but still!
Normally, when I end a first draft, I want to celebrate. I’ve known colleagues to even crack open a bottle of bubbly at this early stage (with another after publication). The foodie that I am, I prefer grabbing one of my favorite meals: tacos, Thai, or t-t-t-t-t—spaghetti. Except, after I typed the last key yesterday, I was so spent that I nearly slid from my chair to the floor in an exhale, curled up, and sucked my thumb. Today, I feel like this Shaun the Sheep-ish depiction.
Standing alone in an amber space (sort of like a caution light between go and stop), nursing on a Binky, wide-eyed. Determining if the inner turmoil and opposition to completing this book was because of divine inspiration and the start of something new… or it’s crap. There’s a fine line there, ha!
Since I have other active stories, it’s time to rotate and finish another while this one ferments. Have to let the manuscript sit for a while until I can come back to it with fresh eyes.
This is just another friendly FYI post by your Shaun the Sheep-ish stand-in. Still standing, at least…
is a storyteller, and a transcript editor. She's also a Romans 8:28 kind of Jewish girl ...