Time has a way of slipping away from us. We start out in the springtime of our lives. Everything we dream about is far, far away. Christmas will never come, and when it does, it ends so quickly. Summer speeds by us way too fast, and before we know it, summer is over and we are back in school.
Some of us have happy memories of our school days. I don't. School was a constant barrage of moving here and there, and meeting strangers, not friends. Days crawled by, exchanging one humiliation for another, always knowing that when we left, I would be forgotten and never remembered again.
Then comes the summer of our lives. Summer is a time of colorful parties, with ice cream running down our arms. It is a time for playing tag in the wee hours of the evening, while it is still light. At fifteen we lived in Louisville, Kentucky, and the evening was long and just light enough to get me in trouble. I loved to take my tennis racket and ball, and I would go over to the parking lot across the street to bounce my tennis ball against the blank, brick wall. Back and forth I'd go, bouncing away until the sweat dripped into my eyes, and I was tired to the bone. I enjoyed being alone, doing the things I loved. Being alone meant I didn't have to think of something interesting to say, to someone who didn't care. Being alone meant I could do healthy things that were possible simply because I was alone.
Now, I am in the autumn of my life. I'm sixty-four years old. The number, itself, means very little to me. I can't feel a number. Of course, I would love to look into a full length mirror and see a perfect picture of myself. But then, when I was young and beautiful, I would have told you I was plain, and even ugly, because I had been taught that of all those in my family, I was the least attractive of all. It's only now that I can look at a picture of me, long ago, and see what a lovely creature I was.
Now, I must look at myself in a whole new way. I must see my body through the eyes of my heart. Am I beautiful in my thoughts and my actions? Do I love much? Do I laugh more? Do I listen first, and talk last? Okay, I'm still working on that. Is my life so intertwined with the hopes and dreams of those I love, so that our lives, and hopes, and dreams become woven into a tapestry of reds, and greens, and gold? Or are our lives separate, and stingy, and cold?
Life is a tapestry. Much like a tartan plaid, each life is a thread, without which the cloth would be dull, and without beauty. In the autumn of my life, I strive for that tapestry, to be beautiful with warmth, and humor, and love. We cannot be young forever. Our youth will run by in a flash. And if our young lives are shallow, how can we have depth when we are old?
I have seen both sides. I have seen the very old be mean and calculating, having nothing but bitterness and loathing come out of their mouths. And I have seen those whose lives are filled with laughter, generosity, and love. Jesus said that the good man speaks from the goodness of his heart, and the evil man speaks from the evil of his heart, for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
Age is a reflection of the youth we have lived, with a life of generosity of spirit or the emptiness of selfishness. I have seen evil destroy itself, but I've also seen goodness live in the remembrance of those whose lives have been blessed with love and unselfishness. An ugly old man was once an ugly young one; and a mean old lady was a selfish young one. We cannot escape what we will become, except by intentional change and the grace of God.
These are the things that I have been mulling over in the autumn of my life. The rosy glow of dawn has been exchanged for the red and purple sky of the evening. However, I have seen sunsets which have lasted long into the purple dark of night. And these sunsets are the most beautiful of all. So, perhaps the autumn of my life will be a long and golden one, where I still have time to be a blessing to others, as I take the time to be thankful for each breath the Lord will give to me, before He comes to take me home. I hope I'll see you there.
Friends, feel free to forward this message to friends and acquaintances, however forward in entirety and always include my name and website address. Copyright Jaye Lewis, 2010