by Judy Allen
Admittedly, I’m a slow adapter to change. I’d rather not admit to myself that I am not 30 years old any more. Or 40. Or 50. It’s getting harder to ignore.
Recently I spent an afternoon with two friends. One friend’s husband was preparing to have a hip replaced and the other friend spoke of her knees crunching when walking up stairs. They didn’t hurt, she said, but she heard them. Feeling rather content that I haven’t had any arthritis pains, I nodded and commiserated.
The laugh is on me, because I heard my knees the next time I went upstairs at home. “What!? Is that my knees?” Whether it was the power of suggestion, a coincidence, or further evidence of head-in-the-sand aging, my knees were speaking to me.
I’ve been surprised by health challenges in the past, like when I was diagnosed with breast cancer 13 years ago. “What!? I’m healthy!” I was flabbergasted to have a stroke 4 years ago. “Where did that come from?” Thankfully, I am cancer free and thanks to my husband’s quick handling of my stroke, I have no negative effects of that trauma.
Squeaky knees don’t bother me.
However, they do tell me that it’s time to face the effects of age. It’s difficult to write those words, to acknowledge noisy knees and gravity’s downward pull, and to confront the fact that my body is showing signs of wear.
Our bodies will all wear out. It’s a fact. Thankfully, our inner lives can continue to grow stronger. I am wiser now than I was when my body was young, not because of any brilliance on my part, but due to time and life experience that teaches, corrects, and molds. I hope to gain more insight in the years ahead.
In my youth and naivete I had plenty of energy, was generally optimistic and saw problems as temporary and manageable. I have moments like that still, but now I’ve seen enough of life to understand that some trials are not easily handled, and my optimism has often been disappointed. I have a more realistic view of life. I look at the decisions made in those vigorous years and thank God for those that were solid, godly, and have born fruit, and I learn from the decisions that were not as wise.
After six decades on this earth, I’ve also seen enough politics, war, social upheaval and trends to temper my enthusiasm when I agree with the way things are going and to curb my fear when I don’t.
I realize that God is always at work, even when we can’t make sense out of personal or public events. I believe the truth taught in Romans, that God will work all things for the good of those who love him. However, it will take time to play out. Years ago, I would have been frustrated with that thought, but it is accurate. Time gives perspective and teaches us all, if we’re willing to learn.
Noisy knees proclaim that my body is aging, but God’s Word tells me loud and clear that my life will go on far beyond the limits of my human body.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs then all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Judy Allen is an Area Director with Community Bible Study, and she also writes and speaks with the goal of making the transformative truth of Jesus Christ more impactful in our daily lives. She blogs at connectingdotstogod.com and lives in the Chicago area with her husband and best friend, Dan.