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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Old Things: Day 4

However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all.
Ecclesiastes 11:8

While we are on the topic of old things, let me tell you about what’s been happening to me lately.

For the past ten years we have lived in a lovely community that largely consisted of second home owners and retirees. In this community, 65 was entry level. On our recent return to Texas, we find that we have landed smack-dab in the middle of a city and a neighborhood of young families and dual-income-no-kid-professionals.

For the first time in my life, I am being called “Miss Nancy” by clerks and sales people. Anyone who has lived in the South or has seen Driving Miss Daisy knows what that means!  These days I find that I must write more things down, leave less to chance and plan that every project I undertake will take twice as long and use double the energy that it used to.

A dear friend has been struggling with dramatically worsening familial tremors. He has been a life-long performer: singer, actor, professional drummer, soloist, and reader of Scripture in his church. He is no longer able to do any of these things and, in addition, he can no longer work at his part-time job. All this has produced not only a loss of income, but a loss of self. Because he is surrounded by a godly wife and wise counselors and possesses a resilient faith, he will be fine. Still it isn’t easy.

All these things are reminders that life doesn’t stand still. Neither the good times nor the bad will last forever. Each life passage and the adjustments that come with it are intended to strengthen us for what lies ahead. And, it is part of God’s gracious humbling.

I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of the word “humble.” Everything in my prideful human nature wants to arrange circumstances so that I may be in control and look as good as possible to those around me.

I read a non-dictionary definition of this word recently that I had to agree with: “humility is just acknowledging reality.” In other words, in every humbling situation, there will be a reality checkpoint. When we discover it, we are to slow down and take in the scenery, not step on the gas and breeze by. In the case of my friend and I, we are learning to do life differently so that there will be lots of life left to enjoy.

My mother said, “Old age isn’t for sissies.” Neither is it for the prideful, the unimaginative, the inflexible.

Nancy Shirah

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