Late in his life, my father would often comment, “Getting old isn’t for sissies.” This was his way of reminding himself and the rest of us that fullness of years isn’t a walk in the park. It was my father’s voice—and witness—that came to mind when I started these blogs.
It would be easy to think of fullness-of-years as code language for an older-adult version of the prosperity gospel—as though thinking right could make the aging process something completely wonderful. As though these years ARE golden, full of the sumptuous rewards that we’ve earned. As if fullness was a glory road that we cruise along, full of luxurious free time, fulfilling volunteer activities, new hobbies and anything else that helps us complete bucket lists or find complete self-realization. I say “not difficult” because there are enough cultural tunes played in the noisy key of self-fulfillment to make us think automatically that now we’re full of it—the good life!
Hear me out: I’m not suggesting that these older years are full of dysfunction, as though most of us spend our miserable days fending off disease, decrepit-ness and destruction. There’s something in-between—something else that can help “full of years” make sense.
Here’s what I think makes this time of life worth exulting about: We can still be full of purpose, no matter our physical or economic condition. No matter our joys or sorrows! Meaning in life has not slithered away from us, and so we can continue toward the satisfying fullness of making a difference in the world God so surely loves!
Lent is just around the corner—a good time to look at how Jesus lived fully in his final days: Doing what God called him to accomplish.
So may it be among us older non-sissies….