“You need a little help,” said the man examining my eyes. The news nipped me like a little pinprick. Yeah, I knew something was going wrong when I could no longer read text like before. I already have glasses that help me see things off at a distance. Time is winning as it always does. The years are starting to show on my face, body, and now another vision reduction. Aging is a strange thing to cope with. No one likes it, but everyone wishes to live as long as possible, assuming decent health. Forty year-olds tell the thirty year-olds, “Hey, if you think thirty is bad, wait until you hit forty.” (Meanwhile, people in their fifties, sixties, etc. just sit back and laugh at the forty year-old.) Behind the jokes of waking up with aches and pains without doing any exercising or hard labor lies the real truth about aging — there is nothing fun about it. Zero.
Of course, plenty of literature exists foretelling all of the details about aging. Many years ago, my uncle sent my dad a whole article describing the process in different stages: this is when your spine compresses. Then, your teeth start to get weaker and fall out. Your hair falls out. Muscles don’t work, and then you die. Dad and I had a good laugh after reading the article, because we couldn’t really decipher why it was sent. I’m sure there was no ill intent, but still, it’s not the sort of thing I would send to my friends or family members.
Let me give a quick example of how aging changes the game. My kids love doing cartwheels. After watching them cartwheel all over the house, I boldly issued the statement, “Hey, I can do a cartwheel, too, and I used to be pretty good at it. Yeah, really.” Of course, my kids challenged me on my claims as I would have done when I was a kid. Obviously, more room was required for me to display my skills, so we moved on out to the back yard where there was plenty of room for me to make a complete fool of myself. Now, no kidding, I was pretty good at doing cartwheels back in the day — yeah, back in the day was probably close to 30 years ago, but so what, right? One cartwheel. Well, when I started to put my first hand on the ground, fear struck like lightning, because suddenly I realized that my spine could just fly apart, and for what? My big mouth? Anyway, my first hand hit the ground and I felt my legs rotating over. My weight transferred to my second hand, and I landed okay without too much jarring of the old knees and ankles. However, my shoulders were on fire, my back was tighter than a drum, and standing upright was a challenge. The kids confirmed that I performed a cartwheel, but my legs weren’t really straight, so I needed to tighten up in that area. (If they only knew how tight my back was at that moment…) Something that kids do without even thinking caused me to contemplate a catastrophe involving weeks of bed rest.
Even though I don’t have real health problems, my aging has pressed me down lately. I felt the need to reach for the Bible and let the words take my mind off the grind of every day life. Fortunately, the Bible has something to say to help us navigate life while the body ages.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 — Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Message received. Every time the depression kicks in when my physical body fails, I hope to focus in on what is not seen, Jesus Christ.