Thursday, November 3, 2011

Are You Who You Want to Be?

The lyrics to the Switchfoot song, This is your Life, ran through my head this week.

Yesterday is a wrinkle on your forehead
Yesterday is a promise that you’ve broken
Don’t close your eyes, don’t close your eyes
This is your life and today is all you’ve got now
Yeah, and today is all you’ll ever have
Don’t close your eyes
Don’t close your eyes

This is your life, are you who you want to be
This is your life, are you who you want to be
This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be
When the world was younger and you had everything to lose

I was helping to serve at a Halloween luncheon that was held for four different retirement centers in our Harbor town. The room looked festive all decked out in orange and black. Classic 1940’s music was being piped in and all of us on staff where dressed in costumes.

The vans began to arrive and seniors slowly filed out. Some were mobile; many had walkers, a few rode scooters; almost all were sporting white hair. The majority of the women (and there were a handful of men) came dressed in costume, or festive Halloween/Harvest sweaters.

I loved engaging with the guests. They were so interesting. I admired several married couples, a woman who left Russia in 1928, and caregivers. I got a kick out of the four ladies dressed as prisoners with their “guard”-they were having such fun! I could totally picture my bible study friends and I being silly like that if we ever ended up in a retirement home together...

A good time was had by all/most. I imagined my Mom at an event like this. She loves meeting her friends for meals out or to go to a local show. Although she’s still living independently back in Indiana, my Mom is the same age as many of the luncheon guests. I know she would have appreciated the luncheon; the attentive service, yummy food, prizes, beautiful gardens and socializing.

Not all the attendees were cheerful though and that made me sad. Maybe they were thinking about their lost independence, and I totally understand if medical reasons or pain caused their behavior. But perhaps their Moms never taught them things like... “You’re never fully dressed without your smile.” or “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Despite living alone for 19 years and dealing with aches, pains and physical issues, my Mom always tries to be grateful and not grumpy. She is always kind to those around her.

The habits and outlook we have at middle age will likely follow us into our senior years. I need to intentionally practice being more of a “glass half full” person who reflects the Lord’s glory. If I ever end up in a retirement home at a Halloween Luncheon one day, I hope I’ll enjoy myself and be the dressed up lady winning a prize for best costume.

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

Lessons Learned: Smile-it’s contagious. We need the Holy Spirit to transform us. If you’re grumpy at 50, you’ll probably be extra grumpy at 85. You’re never too old to have fun at a party.

Have you ever thought about the kind of senior citizen you might be? Are you who you want to be? Thankfully, we’re all in process and God in His grace keeps transforming us.

In His Grip, Jane

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