Lord, how can a person get lost in her hometown? Yet You helped me find and feast on lasagna with these friends with whom I once read Dick and Jane books. Played jacks and hopscotch at recess. Graduated from high school. OMG, what a fun evening You gave us — together again!
O Lord, Hubby donned a shirt this morning whose label implied he’d owned it since the early permanent-press era. Laundry instructions: “Tumble dry. Hang on a hanger. No starch.” OMG, that’s a misprint, right? The pictures lie, too, because the shirt can’t be that old!
We can’t be that old, either. …
O Lord, Thank You for the means to buy, for strength to plant and grow the beautiful shrubs and flowers You designed. But given our aching backs, muscles, and bank balance, sometimes we wonder: Is creating curb appeal for Bambi worth it?
We received vaccine #2. Thank You, Lord! We were rewarded with tags that lauded us as the Herd. OMG, I’m glad to help protect my Hoosier community. I don’t really mind identifying with the Herd. But Lord, I’m supposed to wear a picture of a cow?
Jesus, I know You’re eternal, but for us, a half-century holds a lot of years. M*A*S*H is more than a half-century old. Nerf balls were invented half a century ago. OMG, I never thought I’d say this, but, oh, to be ONLY a half-century old!
O Lord, thank You for grandsons whose energy output could light Chicago. You know that not too long ago, I easily outraced them. Now, however, my slow legs and weighty derriere always bring up the rear. OMG, even the two-year-old — especially, the two-year-old! — leaves me in the dust.
O Lord, my grandchildren believe I’ve been around since forever. One asked if I knew Betsy Ross. But You truly have been around since forever. OMG, thank You for offering Your expert help to all of us navigating our senior years. Not to mention, our forever!
First, we were advised not to go to church. Then forbidden to go.
I’ve attended since a newborn. As a toddler, I sat on the front pew as my mother played the piano. Mom dressed my brother and me in sleepers, as we nodded off before services ended.
Sleepers! In front of God and everybody! An indignity not to be endured.
Finally, Mom gave in, and I wore proper church attire.
Our small church supplied infinite hugs. I played hide-and-seek after services with friends more like cousins. And the potlucks! I still embrace the credo that the church supplies the ultimate food for both body and soul.
Best of all, I not only learned the song, “Jesus Loves Me,” at church, I grew in that truth.
As a teen, though, I fantasized about skipping services. Later, as a busy church music director, I occasionally longed to worship per TV, where everyone sang on key.
Sometimes, the following prayer cropped up: “God, just this Sunday, may I stay in bed?” Worshipping while wearing sleepers sounded downright spiritual.
Then the coronavirus, a dark angel, swooped in.
Watching online worship while wearing bathrobes, our shaggy-haired congregation probably looked quite biblical. So good to see our pastors. To drink in the Scriptures, living water for parched people in a COVID-19 desert.
Yet, a cyber hug can never replace a real one. When restrictions were lifted, everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
Except those — including seniors — considered high risk.
As a teen, I’d wanted to sneak out of services. Now I considered sneaking in.
Could I lie about my age to attend church? What if a bouncer carded me — “She’s got Medicare B!” — and tossed me out?
Reluctantly, Hubby and I continued online worship. The small congregation practiced “social distancing,” as if all had forgotten to shower. The long-haired, masked group resembled a gathering of hippie surgeons.
Yet, I ached to be there. …
Finally, when seniors received a sort-of green light, Hubby and I donned masks and went to church, sitting miles away from friends we’d missed so much.
My mask fogged my glasses, causing hymn lyrics to disappear. The mask contracted when I inhaled, poufed when I sang. Still, loving the church family voices around us, Hubby and I belted out hymns with vigor.
Despite the odd, reduced gathering, Jesus was there.
We and our brothers and sisters at home pray fervently that soon, we will all be together again. Meanwhile, we connect through prayer, technology, and conversations across yards, streets, and parking lots.
Above all, we connect through joy that “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
Even wearing sleepers for church can’t take that away.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Has the pandemic changed your church?
Do you know any senior wannabes?
Underclassmen — especially freshmen — have always envied these advanced aristocrats.
As a lowly 15-year-old with a learner’s permit, I drove with Mom beside me. Seniors, on the other hand, often drove in their own cars, the ultimate in coolness.
While we freshmen sweated Algebra I and basic biology, seniors studied calculus and genetics. They were the star quarterbacks, the strutters on the musical stage, the academic superstars. They wore their steadies’ class rings wound with angora. Their slips didn’t show, their shoestrings didn’t trip them, and when they laughed in the cafeteria, chocolate milk never squirted out their noses.
At our school, they owned the Senior Circle, etched into the floor. Underclassmen caught touching it scrubbed the Circle with toothbrushes while the entire school watched.
Even when a senior, I stepped into the Circle only once — ready to hit the floor if attacked by toothbrushes.
For me, the Senior Circle didn’t live up to its billing.
Neither did the fabled senior year. I still didn’t understand algebra. The starring role in the musical went to somebody else. I achieved my driver’s license, only to have two accidents. I gained the boyfriend, then had to give back the class ring. Graduation was bittersweet, with many goodbyes.
Strangely, reverting to freshman status recharged my batteries. I explored a fascinating, new world: college.
Decades later, I’ve achieved senior status again. Not many wannabes stand in line to join me.
Who signed me up for this senior club when I wasn’t looking? I still don’t know algebra. I hear not-so-distant rumbles about taking drivers’ tests again. (Noooooo!) Starring roles go to younger people.
Where’s the Senior Circle in all this?
For many of us, grandchildren light it up like a movie marquee. No angora adorns our rings, but they’ve worn sweet grooves into our fingers and our hearts. Longtime friends, belly-laugh memories, and watch-TV dinners in which we don’t have to be good examples fill our days. Quiet wisdom gained only by those who have walked the road, won and lost — all these and more make our Senior Circle special.
Best of all, the God who drafted 80-year-old Moses to lead a national exodus still inhabits the Senior Circle. He inspired Caleb, a geriatric commando, to conquer a mountain inhabited by giants. He told 87-year-old Anna a secret few knew: the newborn she blessed at the temple was Jesus, the Savior of the world — including seniors.
God urges us to live, grow and achieve, and to look forward to graduation. Yes, it will be bittersweet with many goodbyes.
But we can become heavenly freshmen, exploring the infinite, fascinating world we will inhabit forever with Jesus.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What do you think of growing older?
O Lord, though AARP and Medicare supplemental insurance companies seem ecstatic that I’m older, I’m not inclined to thank You for sagginess, bagginess, and wrinkles. But when our precious clan, including seven grandkids, comes for Thanksgiving — OMG, I’m grateful to be Grandma!