Ordinary Life / Safe Place / Spirituality

When you get old, who will you be?

What in life sustains us for the long trip to the end of our days? Sometimes a stream of despair causes me to doubt I’ll make it looking even slightly holy or reasonably sane. And if I can’t be sane, could I, please God, still end up as a kind and thankful person?

There certain observations that cause me worry. One is that I’m at an age and stage of life where sometimes I’m just plain tired and wishing for more energy on tap. That makes coasting with a large supply of coffee and mystery novels for my undisciplined, wayward self much more appealing than doing anything constructive.

Another observation is that more than a few women I’ve known who reached a certain age display some alarming traits. Did they always have these tendencies or did age lower gates of caution and civility? They often express anger and hatred toward, well, toward other races, toward people who look different, toward some innocent person who checks in to see about the laundry. My mother, thank God, is not so. At 87 she is mild-mannered, uncomplaining and delightful. I hope I inherited her sweet genes.

Ann Lamott writes in her latest book Hallelujah Anyway, “Over and over, in spite of our awfulness and having squandered our funds, the ticket-taker at the venue waves us on through. Forgiven and included, when we experience this, that we are in this with one another, flailing and starting over in the awful beauty of being humans together, we are saved.”

More than ever I need to be reminded that God didn’t invest in me because I proved to be such a good little worker bee. No. I’m in because Jesus reached for me and that isn’t going to change. “For this God is our God forever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.” Psalm 48:14.

Amen, and so be it.