Afterall, by the time I was 28 I'd weathered and overcome some fairly daunting episodes in my life ... .
- The drinking career that had nearly shipwrecked me - - brief and boring though it was. (For more on that chapter I've written Confessions of a Prosperous Pauper).
- I'd had enough counsel to know I could, and would eventually get over the loss of my father - - the one that occurred when I was but 16, and when he finally lost his mighty battle with Leukemia.
- Having navigated the sorrows of laying my mother to rest just ahead of my 28th year.
Kicking & screaming) Seeing through a highly troubled marriage and sensing it was now fortified, invincible. Mental note: When you marry at 18 there's a great likelihood the marriage will be highly troubled. (Who knew?)
Little did I know then that the list was anything but complete. Later years would bring with them later episodes of the daunting sort. Seems arriving wasn't something for which I'd been destined.
Here I am, now 61 and headed decidedly towards 62. Arriving is hardly a place or condition that suits me. And because I've undertaken a project for my dear friend, Lisa at Sharing Life, I'm reflecting on any number of items in the attic of my previous decades; reflections that solidify the fact of my many follies.
What fun it's been to pick up this item or that folly, as if surveying a weather-worn memory, or a tattered ideal long stuffed in a trunk there. It has caused me to chuckle aloud where at one time bitterness barred any such humor. It has allowed me to look upon failures, betrayals, losses and sorrows without having to try them on to see if they still fit.
I say all this to say that now, at 61, I have a very difficult time amassing enough daunting to even make the subject interesting. What troubled and - I dare say - stumbled me long ago has lost its luster, if not its power to occupy more than my fleeting thoughts.
Besides, I've not arrived. I'm not going to arrive - - not here anyway. I can look upon the diminished pile of ashes in my life with great anticipation and joy because I know beauty flourishes in their likes, and joy follows in the morning - - even if I'm never quite certain about the timing of sunrise.
Then Job ... sat among the ashes.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me ...
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives ...
to comfort all who mourn ...
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning ...
O LORD my God, I cried out to You,
And You healed me.
O LORD, You brought my soul up from the grave
You have kept me alive ...
Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His ...
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.
Ah well, perhaps one has to be very old
before one learns how to be amused
rather than shocked.
Pearl S. Buck
By the time you're eighty years old
you've learned everything.
You only have to remember it.