Approaching middle age with grace

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

A column by Sydney Morning Herald writer Dom Knight about approaching middle age made us laugh the other day. We are middle aged!

The signs are there including the greying hair, the need for comfortable shoes and quiet, and my distaste for sugary drinks and fast food.

I don’t even try to be up with current trends any more, not that I ever tried very hard.

Recently when I was out and about I was given a great compliment.

“Is this your first?” a woman inquired, smiling at Isaac in my arms.

“This is my fifth baby,” I answered, while mentally, as always, steeling myself for the reaction.

Would it be the typical shocked look and: “Wow, you must be busy?”

But it was instead a smile and: “You look young to have five children.”

Ah, I love that, thank you.

Having lived a good span of life already I’ve enjoyed a number of eras from infancy through to mature adulthood, from childhood to motherhood.

I have had a good life and should be ready to leave it whenever God calls me.

This is what we are doing now in Lent, right?

Preparing within ourselves the right disposition to meet Jesus in the garden, at the cross, and at the resurrection at Eastertime, and thus also at the end of our days?

The fact is every day is a bonus, every day is a gift. Whether we live to 20 or beyond 90.

We know it, but do we really ‘get it’? Deep into our bones?

I know I haven’t lived ever grateful and graciously over these past four decades, but God provides me with another chance every morning and each hour of the day.

We are very fortunate to have a long average life span in this country, at almost 82 years, with people remaining reasonably well into their 90s.

The health, vitality and wisdom so many of us enjoy in later ages are gifts to make good use of, gifts which have value in society even if they are not acknowledged.

I find inspiring and very relevant in this season of Lent this quote from St Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, which is probably aimed at us ‘oldies’ and ‘no-longer-youngies’.

“When you look back on your life, which seems to have been marked by no great efforts or achievements, think how much time you have wasted, and how you can recover it with penance and greater self-giving.”

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