Four and a half years ago when we were living in Michigan, our son, his wife and their baby had moved in with my husband and me. We all got along well, but it was still stressful having two households under one roof. In that time my five-month-old grandson had grown to be a boisterous, active two-year-old. Then, I found out I had to have surgery. Life had gotten pretty chaotic.
I was afraid of the approaching surgery and overwhelmed by my busy life. I missed our quiet “empty nest”! I decided one busy Sunday morning that I needed a break, so I went to church early and sat in the quiet foyer, waiting for the service to begin. It’s impossible to escape our inner selves however, so I continued to stew in my fear, frustrations and uncertainty. Then, the oldest member of our church walked through the door.
Erma was 98 years old. She had outlived her husband and four of her five children. She was frail but sturdy and still drove the short distance to our country church each Sunday. I watched her enter the church and reflected on how very different her life was then, than it was forty some years ago when she was my age.
Erma and I greeted one another and she congratulated herself for remembering my name.
“I used to know everyone in the church,” she stated simply, “but now there are many people whose names I do not know. But, that’s OK, I don’t have to know everyone.”
She smiled as she said this and I was struck by her matter-of-fact attitude. She didn’t necessarily like that she didn’t know everyone anymore, it meant that many dear friends and loved ones had passed away. There was nothing she could do about life’s many changes, so she accepted them. Her parents, her siblings, her cousins and life-long friends were all gone. And though she was the last of her generation she was not down and discouraged by her fate, she faced her life with grace. I felt myself gaining some new perspective on my own situation.
This hectic life we live is full of “seasons” and like all seasons they are ultimately short and changing. God is the one true constant in this world and He can be rested upon and trusted. How do we find peace in chaos, by focusing not on the circumstances but on the Source of peace, the Lord Himself.
We’re not asked to solve all the problems that confront us, or to even like them! Instead we are provided with the ability to accept them, by God’s grace, and find gratitude in every season of life.
2 Corinthians 4:16-17: That is why we are not discouraged. Though outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are renewed day by day. Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to consciously renew, strengthen and encourage ourselves in You, every day and to be grateful for whichever season of life we find ourselves in. Because a lifetime spent with You, is a life worth living.
Update: Erma turned 100 years old this month and is still going strong!