When our daughters reached their late teens they were chomping at the bit to leave home. When my husband and I reached our late teens we were chomping at the bit to leave home; so we didn’t take offense from our daughters. At that time our daughters began to find us particularly annoying. We would tease them that we were just trying to make the transition easier for them so they wouldn’t miss us too much when they moved out.
My parents, most of my aunts and uncles and many of my parents friends are in their 80’s and life for them is growing increasingly challenging. Dare I say, annoying? The physical obstacles are building and the resulting limitations on life are a sorrowful loss.
One of my first crises of faith in Jesus was during my late teens when my grandmother was suffering the pains of aging. “Why,” I’d cry out, “does she have to suffer?” And now I find myself 35+ years later watching my parents endure the pains of aging. It isn’t shaking my faith this time around because I have had decades of getting to know the love of God. However the sadness of watching my loved ones suffer hasn’t been alleviated. I just hate it.
I believe there is a similarity of the season before leaving home and the season before going home to Heaven. There may need to be pain to reveal there is something better waiting for you or you’d never be ready to leave to the place of eternal comfort. As I watch and experience the suffering in this world, both physical and emotional, I am comforted that this world is not my final home. I have the anticipation of Heaven where there is no suffering and there is unimaginable joy. But I’m human and in no rush to leave those I love and what is familiar to me.
The breaking down of our bodies here on earth is a trial. It can certainly reek havoc on my plans and my emotions. Sometimes it is gift because it serves to strengthen me and equip me to fulfill my calling here on earth. But what is it for the aged? No matter how old you are you have desires. Desires to make a difference, desires to enjoy what the earth offers, and desires to fulfill your personal calling here on earth.
My parents try to keep their humor by joking around about their days being full…full of doctor’s appointments. Ugh! That’s not a schedule conducive to contentment! However, that’s also a reality for some who are still young. Double Ugh!
Maybe this world is to the aged like living with parents is to young adults. It starts to not be as comfortable and necessary as before. There’s somewhere else out there calling us to make a new home. And like teens whom need to be prepared and experience a little more before they attempt moving on to adulthood, in our old age we’re still living on this earth because we still have more to learn, do, and be, before we’re ready to move onto our new home.