Last Friday, you may have noticed, was my 60th birthday. The worst kept secret in history, said my sister, as various schemes and plans made by the family began to leak out. I knew there was something afoot!
My husband let slip that our daughter from America was coming to celebrate with me. Happy tears poured down my face when I discovered that! A picnic lunch, a special evening out with the family, some friends coming for lunch and a walk the following day .... Gradually the plan began to emerge.
I had not expected this present, however.
Nor this at the picnic lunch
Nor the fun in the sun
(good thing we have a long driveway for cruising ...)
Saturday. And the sun shone. Friends navigated closed motorways and horrendous traffic jams to get to Mays Farm - where there was tea in the orchard following a walk.
Later, some gifts to open.
A co-mother-in-law (tongue-in-cheek?) presented me with this:
It dawned on me that I really really am SIXTY. Apparently, no longer middle aged.
I am privileged to be there but be fit and healthy and embarking on a new season of life, ministry, home and house.
A quick scan of the little book reveals it to be a series of reflections, mini sermons, about ageing and faith, done with humour and grace. Just what I need to face this Third Age - humour and grace.
Christ was never middle aged.
Let alone Third Aged.
He was, humanly, always young. A young man in a hurry, places to go, people to meet, purposes to fulfil.
I am privileged to be able still to do the same. But when the spirit continues to be willing whilst the flesh becomes weak, what then? What can I learn from the young Jesus Christ? A young man with a sense of urgency, of uncompromising attitudes and unrelenting purpose.
One day, one day, I will no longer be like that. I can already sense that I have lost energy, urgency - and, if I am honest, some of my hearing! But God has not changed. He still has energy and urgency; he is still uncompromising and unrelenting in his pursuit of, and love for, me.
As Reinhardt Niebuhr wrote,
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.
Meanwhile, I'm out to change the world one step at a time, one person at a time.
Coming to join me?