Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Encouraging Words for Those Who Are Growing Old

Hello friends,

Here is a photo of me, and my husband, from 1986, I believe. We are young, and we are so handsome. I was vivacious and totally unaware of my beauty, except in the eyes of my husband, and that was enough for me.  I was never one to think of myself as beautiful. I didn't even think I was pretty, but when he looked at me, I knew I was the loveliest woman alive.

That may seem unimportant to some people, but to me, at that time in my life, it was everything.  I came from an abusive background, and I was told every day just how unattractive I was.  So, when I fell in love with this kind, gentle, Tennessee Mountain man, who told me just how lovely he believed I was, well, I believed it, too.  One thing I knew for certain, I would never grow old.  But.......

Here we are today.  I am growing old.  We both are.  Even my dog is growing old.  Yes, that is my little Happydog, my little dachshund.  And here is that sweet, kind, gentle Tennessee Mountain man, who first told me that I was lovely, and he has told me that every day since.  You see, growing old for me is not easy, just as it is not for many people.  I don't have my health, and neither does he, but we do have something more important. We are both growing old with the loves of our lives.  And I am growing old with the dog of my life.

We have made a life together, here in the mountains, after twenty years in the Navy.  It's not been an easy life.  Life seldom is.  But we have looked for the joys, amidst the sorrows; and we have found triumph amidst defeat.  We've not done this alone. We have our two wonderful daughters, who have been a blessing to us, just as the Bible promised.  They have risen up and called us blessed.

The center of our lives is our faith; our love; laughter; intense interest in one another's desires and needs; and a focus not on selfishness, but on inclusiveness.  We are blessed, and we know it.

Selfishness is self-destructive, and there are many ways to serve, even if one is house bound.  I write, and I try not to be preachy. I have my good days, and I have my not so good days.  I have a Facebook page, and I'm selective in whom I let inside.  I also have an Author page, which is new.  I'm a Chicken Soup for the Soul contributing author, and I have a tendency to forget to share that.

I can be insecure, self-deprecating to a fault. I hate gossip. I don't drink or smoke, which keeps me from being invited to parties, and my health has kept me from Church going. However, I have a rich, deep relationship with God and the Bible. Some people say you can't do that outside of Church, but that's not true, at least it shouldn't be.  God tells me much in His Word, and He often chastises me, just like a good Father should.

I live in a beautiful world which is just outside my backdoor.  It is often the only world I see.  It can be lonely, but it changes daily.  My favorite times are just before the sun comes up or after a big snow.  God is all around me, always, and He is all around you, no matter where you are.  All you have to do is stop what you are doing, and listen, inside your heart.  You may not have this beautiful view, but with your eyes closed, you can see Him.  He is there with you, just as He is here with me.

So, I guess my message is this.  Growing old is not such a bad thing.  It actually can be delightful, joyful and meaningful, something to be embraced.  Growing old can be fun, just like it is for Happydog and me.  So go on!  Enjoy life and bless others, even if it's just your dog.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

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