My mother used to say, “Old age isn’t for sissies.” The older I get, the more I realize she was right.
Aging is a season of loss: loss of friends, one after another, loss of ability, agility, strength, loss of the things I used to do and enjoy.
The latest one came just recently.
I’ve had this sinus/asthma condition which doctor after doctor has been sleuthing for three years now. For the first year or so, I was really sick…to the point of wondering if I would ever be well again. I had sinus surgery which helped a lot, but didn’t cure it. They’ve tested for all the common environmental allergies: dog dander, tree pollen and so forth. All negative…
Until my doctor decided to try testing for food allergies and found I am allergic to milk and eggs. After being raised on cows’ milk from tiny babyhood…and not just any cows’ milk, mind you. My mother fed us golden guernsey milk laced with thick cream that would rise to the top of bottle. I grew up relishing the taste, the way cream gives you that “party in your mouth,” as Oprah once described it. I still do! Who would’ve guessed, after all these years, I’d be forced to give it up?
If this is the key to my health issues, as my doctor suspects, I should be happy.
But the news rocked my world.
Think of all the food I can’t have anymore. Butter. Cheese. Scrambled eggs. Christmas cookies. Eggnog. Pumpkin pie. Birthday cake. Sweet rolls at the Farmers’ Market. To say nothing of the foods these allergens are in. Reading the labels on packaged food is a whole education.
I was surprised to find substitutes that taste surprisingly good—even ice cream made from coconut milk. And, as time goes on, I might be able to have very small amounts of forbidden foods once in a while. But the doors-open party, as I knew it all my life, is over.
Why now…after seven decades of life on this planet? Most likely, my immune system is wearing out and can’t fight off the challenges as well at it used to.
One more loss I can attribute to the aging process. I know there’s only more—and worse–to come. If I let myself dwell on that fact, I could get downright depressed.
That’s why I snatched up Max Lucado’s latest book: “Unshakable Hope.” If there’s anything I need to endure this season, it’s that. And Lucado, as usual, does not disappoint.
“(Many people),” I read this morning, “mistakenly think their fondest moment, deepest joy and most profound experience happen sometime between the delivery room and the funeral home. Someone needs to tell them this is just the beginning. As good as it gets? For the Christian this world is as bad as it gets.”
Our best moments in this world are, as my church’s liturgy puts it, “foretastes of the feast to come.” How could I have lost sight of that?
Then he goes on to quote the Apostle Paul:
“So we do not give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day. We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles. We set our eyes not on what we see but on what we cannot see. What we see will last only a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NCV
Thanks, Paul and Max. I so needed to hear that!
I will survive by not giving up, by knowing Better Days are ahead. Loss is not the final word. Neither is death. Because of Jesus, what awaits us will be wonderful beyond our imagining.
For the one who believes, nothing good is lost forever. In the glorious kingdom to come, we will know and experience everything and everyone we love–in a far better form than we have ever known. (See Matthew 19:28-29)
There will be no allergies at the wedding feast of the Lamb.