But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 1Timothy 6:6-7(ESV)
The huge disco ball slowly spun, raining colors across the walls while a song thumped out a 70’s disco beat. My granddaughter Brooklynn skated beside me.
“Ama, when was the last time you roller skated?”
I could tell she was a bit apprehensive about this. At age 7, she had not reached the maturity to be thoroughly embarrassed.
“Uh, about 50 years ago.” I answered. Before disco was even invented.
She skated silently along.
“So you were 10?” Ok, it’s easy to subtract from 60.
“Yeah, about that. But I ice skated two years ago, and it’s pretty much the same, so I think I’m good,” I spoke hopefully.
Actually two years ago I had ice-skated with my two sons, their wives and both granddaughters, and had taken a sharp fall backwards on the ice. Only Jake, my younger son, saw it and helped me to my feet. Nobody knew about my Post Concussion Syndrome until I blogged about it.
“Mom, you had a concussion? How come we didn’t know about it?”
Now I know why my mother hid things. Pesky kids.
I really hadn’t intended on rollerskating; I pictured finding a nice rink-side bench, but the guy in front of me, who seemed to be about my age, rented skates for himself and his two grandsons. The young man selling tickets nodded and smiled. Yes, why not?
The day before I took the girls to a beautiful outdoor park with trampolines, toboggan slides, paddle boats and playgrounds. There were benches placed around each area, and I noticed the benches were occupied with mostly us grandparents. Parents nervously circled their children, policing for fair play, ready to dive like a hungry hawk into the foray if the need arose.
“Madison, that’s his toy! Let him have it!”
“Jason, wait for your turn!”
“You kids are playing too rough! Watch out for the baby!
In the meantime, us grannies and grampies just smile, blissfully content just to sit and leave the work for the parents. We will give them ice cream for breakfast and bathe them only if they smell. Time stretches out like a cat in a sunlit window. We are in the moment.
I gave my son a refrigerator magnet last year that depicts a dad yelling at his small children.
“Listen up, and listen up good cuz I’m only gonna say this a million times!”
I smiled, thinking of this as I listened to the parents.
Out under the disco ball I notice the grandpa with the two boys has on roller skates with four wheels, where I had roller blades. I panic for a split second – was I presumptuous?
Then I laugh to myself. You can do this! Maybe it’s a 70’s flashback but I feel pretty good out there.
Then I fall, a gentle rolling fall sideways while taking a turn, like cow-tipping. Brooklynn skated over and assessed her fallen grandmother.
“Old lady down!” she said just loud enough for me to hear, suppressing a laugh. She offered to help, but I said I was fine. It was not a graceful climb back up onto my roller blades and I hoped the Four Wheeler hadn’t seen me. Brooklynn took my hand as I recovered and we skated on.
Turning sixty is a little like going to heaven. You have to die first. It begins by looking in the mirror and saying,
“My God, I’ve become my mother!”
You must face aging squarely, taking inventory of mistakes, regrets and loss of lean muscle tissue. Then embrace the future with grace and much humor. The grace part takes on new meaning, especially after falling down so much.
Grace: from the Greek, charis; the New Testament meaning from Strong’s: the divine influence within the heart and it’s reflection in the life. Charis simply meant joy and delight. The apostles used it to describe the undeserved goodness and favor that is poured out upon God’s children. That treasure is carried in these earthen vessels. I would say the longer this vessel stays on the earth, the greater the treasure, the deeper the well and the fountain that flows from within. Shouldn’t the life of an older saint become a reflection of God’s grace?
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV
Now is what I have, whether hobbling or skating or finding a lovely bench, there is a God of Wisdom who goes before me, and sometimes helps me to my feet.
I look at my sixty year old hands. Hands that strapped on metal roller skates to Keds sneakers fifty years ago. Hands that held my grandmother’s hand, hands that stole, hands that gave, that held my babies, then their babies. Knotted, wrinkled, but still working. Hands that praise the One who made them and the whole idea of Me more than sixty years ago. I want to be content wherever He leads, but never satisfied with enough of Jesus. Help me Lord, to go deeper still.
I told a lovely ninety-year-old woman who sits in front of me in church that I turned sixty. She smiled mischievously and threw her head back, the eyes sparking. “That’s nothin’ ”.
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall. 1Peter 1:23-24 NIV
Imperishable. That’s the heaven part. Maybe one day I can share a bench with Moses, or someone obscure, like the widow who gave everything. One day, when a day is as a thousand years and time is no more, I will see Jesus face to face. Until then, let my life be a fountain of grace for the sojourner. Let my life point the right way home.