On February 7 my Dad celebrated his 91st Birthday! I cannot even begin to understand what that is like. I think of my parents in the season of “aging” but let’s be honest, 91 is old! My Mom has often said, getting old is not for sissies!” There’s a lot of truth in that statement. I think it takes a warrior! Trouble is that the body is anything but warrior like at 91.
Recently my Dad had an unscheduled stay in the hospital. He has a really great doctor and on a follow up visit the doctor “heard” something he didn’t like and had my Dad sent right over to the ER! That’s not only a good doctor, but the care of the Lord. The doctors there kept going back and forth as to the cause of his problem…pneumonia or an issue with his congestive heart failure? They began treating both, antibiotics plus they removed about two and half liters of fluid from around the lungs and the heart. They also upped his oxygen intake. It was amazing to see the changes take place with just those two issues addressed.
Each day this team of computers rolled into Dad’s room and rattled off all the different reasoning's and explanations as to why this was happening and their plan of action to correct it. There is heart damage, there is something around one of the lungs, the flap that covers his air pipe is worn out and does not cover that air pipe as quickly as it should therefore he aspirates. Then the questions…did you have a heart attack, could you have been exposed to asbestos, what is the cause of this? I knew the answers all along…He is 91!
Truly Dad got very good care. Excellent and very patient nurses and therapists! So he began to heal and recover.
Just hanging out on the sidelines observing, caring, being with Dad can be very tiring. I watched my Mom-who is just a bit younger than Dad-persevere each day at the hospital. I then took her home each evening and watched her struggle up the back door steps, take care of the phone calls and other details that still need attention even when someone is in the hospital, let alone your husband of 65 years! I got a very clear picture of aging. Indeed, it is not for sissies!
As I thought about Dad’s Birthday a familiar passage of scripture kept bouncing around my head. 2 Corinthians 16-18…
Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things that are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
My thoughts kept telling me that it is hard to grow old and this world is not always so kind in the aging process. Everyone has a different age in which they live, different experiences given them and they live with different responses to those experiences. Life can be very hard, at the very least it has very hard moments. It is part of that curse of sin.
My heart kept telling me what a blessing to go through life with the Lord. To have the Lord in each of those life experiences makes all the difference. My parents lived enough of their physical (outward) life before trusting Jesus as their Savior to know that life with Jesus (inner) is the better choice. That choice alone breaks the curse of sin and gives birth to the inner man. My parents are warriors to me as I have watched them in this process of outer decay. Their inner man, is being renewed day by day. It happens as they are daily seeking the Lord in trust and dependence, daily looking into His Word for guidance and strength. Daily, praying for family and friends. Daily, faithfully, through the years. Though their active days of serving are mostly over, their active days of faithful praying are in full operation and might be their most powerful service yet! My Dad is pretty proud of the fact that he has a son running a Christian camp and that four of his grandchildren are in full time ministry. That is what brings him joy, seeing his children and grandchildren “walk in truth”. (Pretty sure it excites Mom too.) My parents also have some ministries and missionaries they support apart from their church giving. It’s kind of an odd retirement plan they have invested into… maybe you’ve heard that poem…”Only one life ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” I have said for years, that no one has looked for the return of Christ more than my Dad. I might be wrong, but I still have his faithful testimony of doing so. I don’t say any of that to brag, but to say, all of that is inner man building! It is what my Dad and Mom have chosen to do. One day (if Christ does not return in their lifetime) that old shell will rot off so that the eternal, beautiful people can burst out and greet their Savior.
And here’s another curious thought from 2 Corinthians, those 91 years (84 for Mom) God calls them, “a moment” and those hard things in life, “a light affliction!”
We had Mom and Dad over for dinner on his Birthday. Scott and Wes joined us. I could not believe the difference in Dad!! I also can’t believe I forgot to take any pictures…I think I’m getting old!! It was Wes who said something when he was getting ready to leave so I have these two to share.
I think this photo is quite the contrast, youth and old age!