Well, the last few nights, I've had other thoughts and I tried really hard to remember what they were so I could write them here. I don't know if anyone else thinks like me, sometimes, as I tell my friends, my mind is a scary place to venture alone in....
But last night, I distinctly remember the thoughts that popped into my head. I was nursing Agnes right before we turned out the lights. I noticed my fingers. I have arthritis in my fingers. I actually have arthritis in a lot of places, wrists, ankles, toes, knees, both my hips, my neck, you name it... I suppose I can thank my genetics for it...both my grandparents on my mom side had osteoarthritis and for some reason, I feel like my grandfather on my dad's side did as well. I also carry the factors for rheumatoid arthritis. Which means, my blood work fluctuates (as all of ours does I found out from my RA doc) and six months from now, I'll test again and it will show different factors. Or the factors that were showing this time, will be normal and vice versa. It doesn't mean I'll get RA, but it does mean, I have a greater chance of getting RA. It's quite amazing. Factors might be the wrong word, but I'm working on an average of 6 hours of sleep or less a night and I require much more than that on a good day.....
So, back to what I noticed. My fingers. All of the sudden, I had this horrible twinge of great sadness. I could see my fingers bent up and wrinkled as if I had aged 20 years instantly. It took my breath away and caught me so off guard I became a tad emotional. My fingers are already showing signs of these cysts that rupture and form which eventually lead to the crooked/broken looking fingers you see on little old ladies...I wanted to run away and find the nearest fountain of youth and drink it up!! How could I be getting........OLD???
When did this happen?
What happened to that 20 something red head who had just married her best friend in the world and was ready to tackle anything that came her way???
An overwhelming amount of thoughts came flooding through my mind in those short moments of quiet nursing. I am 45. I am married to a man who is 48, will be 49 in just a few short months. I'm closer to 50 and I guess the realization of that really hit me... I know plenty of people who are in their 50's and doing fantastic. I've no doubt I'll be just fine in my 50's and God willing in my 60's and 70's as well, but I guess my mortality really hit me hard last night.
I have friends who are my age who are grandparents. I have friends who are my age who are just starting their families. There certainly is no "set" way of life for a person who is 45 and reflecting on her mortality. It just really hit me in such a strange way last night. I was looking at the bebe and her beautifully perfectly soft skin. I was rubbing her sweet little cheeks as she nursed and caught myself wondering if my rough finger from years of dishes, making meals, cleaning, digging in the flower/vegetable gardens bothered her...I have a memory of my grandma Grace rubbing my arm and thinking how her fingers felt like sand paper. I always thought it was something that happened when you were, you know, OLD. Not 45.
As I sat there, I realized other things, too. My red hair that took me DECADES to appreciate was graying at a much more rapid pace than in the past....how much longer would I be a red head? My husband loves my hair, but he has always said he'd love me no matter what, but the silly thought, 'what if he doesn't like my hair all gray' kept playing in my mind...
'Is this a mid life crisis,' I kept saying to myself....Or just a woman who is extremely exhausted, tired of fighting the battle that is the world/culture on my family, and feeling a tad bit vulnerable sitting here in the dark with an 8 month old bebe who would rather stay away 24 hours a day and nurse 23 of those hours???
I quietly spoke to God and asked Him to please remove these vain thoughts that kept bombarding my brain. I started to pray the Chaplet and asked Jesus to make these thoughts go away.
They certainly didn't go away, but this morning, while I was making breakfast for the two second youngest, I remembered a picture I wanted to write up and print off. It really struck me this morning as I re-read it....my computer is being wonky (can't imagine why, when I have 5 children who do homework on it....) so I'm just going to have to type out what the picture said...
"Obedience is one of the virtues that we struggle with from our earliest years. Strangely enough when we are placed in charge, it becomes something we demand in justice.
Whether it be something we want to demand or whether it be something we are bound to, the fact remains that obedience is that bond that ties us to the will of God, and ultimately to the love of God.
We can not do the will of God by doing that which we prefer, and we cannot show God our love by doing that which we prefer, and usually in direct proportion we turn away from God and how He wants us.
The pain of not doing what you want is a passing pain - it barely lasts but a few moments. However, the reward for doing what God wants you to do begins now, and lasts forever."
Isn't that beautiful? I read this last night before my little "mid life crisis" but it didn't really connect. This morning, while I was trying to collect my thoughts, God (because say what we will about coincidences, I find them Godly) was showing me there was an answer to how to approach this getting "old" thing. I actually, for the first time in a long time, felt peace about something that was really bothering me.
I am getting old. My husband is getting old. Technically, we started getting old the day we were born. But there is something waiting for me if I but just obey God and stop worrying about things that are completely out of my control. Like growing old. Like wrinkles. Like arthritis. Like gray hair. Like rough hands.... I can't stop it. It's a natural part of aging. I can certainly take care of myself, exercise, eat healthy, stay out of the sun (for too long), and get plenty of sleep (yes, Lord, I'm trying to be obedient to my state in life with sleep right now.....), but ultimately, I'm getting old. I'm going to age. I'm eventually going to die and I pray with all my heart, that God will look upon me and have mercy on all I did, and all I didn't do.
So today, as the temperature actually soars to near 70 (has it even been that warm since last August?????), I shall give thanks and praise for my Creator. I shall smile at that woman in the mirror who doesn't quite reflect the woman in my heart or mind, but is her still the same, and I shall do all I can to be the light of Christ to my little people He's put me in charge of....