Thursday, September 3, 2009

From the Ashes

At the illustrious and sage age of 28, I truly thought I had arrived. Never mind that the where of my arrival was as enigmatic as the PMS that often left me topsy-turvy emotionally (and boy do I NOT miss PMS!). I just felt I had already lived so much; and so long. In some ways I had.
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.
Laughter follows.
Then Job ... sat among the ashes.
Job 2:8
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 ...
Isaiah 61:1-3
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.
Psalm 30:2-5

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.
George Burns


Runner Mom said...

I love the comment by George Burns! I struggle to remember things now!!

Thanks for sharing this wisdom with us! You're right...we never will arrive. It's the journey that is so important.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Now that I'm 63, I've been thinking about all the "what ifs", the bad decisions, "I wish I had..." and things like "Why can't they make attractive comfortable clothes for women our age???"

I too have been through many of the trials and tribulations of life's journey, but as I reflect back, I can see God's hand in everything as He protected me and brought me back to the path of blessings in abundance.

Thanks for your post. It has given me lots more to reflect on and to look forward to.

a portland granny said...

You are so right--we don't arrive. I find that life continues to be a school of learning, albeit, along with George Burns, I do have to say that it becomes harder to remember the lessons as they are learned!!

Thanks for sharing the life your experienced...and isn't it wonderful what time does with our wounds?

Will email you soon--chance I may be flying into Phoenix on my trip to visit the babies. Would love to meet for a "cuppa".

Saleslady371 said...

The nice thing about the 60's is that what bothered me earlier in life seems less significant. We're getting wiser, but we never arrive. There's always more to learn.

Diana said...

What is significant sure changes, doesn't it? I am so glad, too, that the Lord's grace and mercy comes daily.


KelliGirl said...

How wisdom at 28 looks like foolishness at 38. Maybe you haven't arrived, but I think you're pretty wise!

I found this interesting: "When you marry at 18 there's a great likelihood the marriage will be highly troubled. (Who knew?)" My parents married when my mom was 18...they're still married, but there sure have been some tough times. Thank God He's a big fan of marriage!

I am so thankful we're a work in progress and God is not finished with us yet!


Terri Tiffany said...

I loved this post. What hits me is no matter the age, we will still go through things, won't me but you are so right--when I look back at some of the things that once upset me so much, they are nothing now.

I read in the Bible today where Jesus said to his disciples, "Don't you get it?" when they worried about having enough bread to eat. Did he have to keep showing them what he could do?

I would think by the time I am my age, I would get it, and trust him to get me through whatever even will come into our lives. Do we ever learn??
BTW, I have used your husband as an example to mine that he got another good job at his age:) Curt keep saying,"I'm 55." As if life is over at this age. Thank you for reminding me daily it isn't.

Brenda Leyland said...

Hey Sassy, Thanks so much for dropping a note on my kitty slide show. It's as easy as pie. If you come back to my site and click on the word slide, it will take you to the site. Just follow the easy steps and -- bob's your uncle -- you'll be just as savvy!

I am sooooo grateful for the techies who figure these things out for us!! Computereze is still my 'second' language. LOL

Beth E. said...

This post reminds me of the chorus of a song we sing at our church...

"He has given me
the oil of gladness,
A garment of praise,
instead of mourning,
A shining crown,
instead of ashes,
and glory in the place of despair!"

Pat's Place said...

I've always figured--at least in the past few years--that I would NEVER arrive. Sigh! And I will never complete all my projects either!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I've, too, come to seasons in my life when I've thought I finally "arrived" only to discover I've still so far to go. This world holds little allure for me. I enjoy a great many things, but at the end of the day, the "thing" that charms me most is the thought that something better awaits.

Love your honesty here, Sassy! Off to rinse the color out of my hair. I picked a new color this time. My daughter says it looks pink...

oh dear.


Melanie said...

Excellent post. I think that there is wonderful freedom to know that we haven't arrived...LOL :) You inspire me my friend.

We have never met..but I feel such a love in my heart towards you.

Denise said...

I enjoyed this post.

Sheryl said...

there are far too many things that resonated with me to even begin to leave a coherent comment.

thank you!

christy rose said...

I so enjoyed learning more about your life today Sassy! It is so true the older that we get the more we realize that we do not know that much at all. And what we do know, we can not remember much of. LOL