I decided to step away from the Internet for a while today and watch a movie, Last Love with Michael Caine. It is a very good show by the way. Anyway, while I was watching the movie, I was also watching Miss Annie sleep. Her breathing was quite labored, as it has been lately, sort of an awkward wheeze and snore sound rolled into one. Her stomach and chest would rise with each breath and then the labored sound would come out as she exhaled. Over and over she made this sound while she slept. I would softly call her name and she’d stop for a few seconds and then resume her discordant nap. It seems like only yesterday she was a young energetic puppy, so inquisitive and full of life. Today she is an elegant, elderly lady, her life slowing to a crawl.
When I was barely twenty, an old man once told me, “You are young for a day and old for a very long time.” At the time, I didn’t understand what he meant but I do now as I am about the same age that he was when he shared his wisdom with me. Old age is a long road because we are so much more aware of our surroundings than we were when we were young. We see more and experience more. Back then, our perception of life was a well-defined straight line and we flew like an arrow with everything whizzing by so fast. We were free with nothing to hold us back. We were invincible and ultimately deadly when we hit our mark. As we grow older, we don’t fly as straight as we once did and we discover that there are no straight lines or untethered freedoms nor are targets and goals always defined and attainable.
Young folks view their seniors as ignorant, useless and an annoying hindrance to their agenda. They view our reticence to definition as weakness. They will be young for one chaotic day and when they hit old age like a ripe melon against a brick wall, their attitudes, opinions and judgments will soften. They will begin their trek down the long road and learn what it feels like to be badgered and unappreciated.
Miss Annie and I are walking the long road together and we share mixed feelings of appreciation for beauty and the simple things of life with a faint wisp of future sadness. We feel every rut, every bump and stone of our journey. We no longer glide as much as we shuffle and it is that shuffling that makes the road seem long. The length of our journey is a merely a matter of perspective for when it is over, time will collapse and a lifetime will be as a minute.
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
Snore away my little girl and dream sweet dreams for now that you have reached old age and your hair is gray, I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Perhaps we will rescue each other and God will rescue us both.