I am almost 77, I have had a stroke, and have some paralysis and weakness on my right side. I have poor balance, I am clumsy – like I have two left hands, and I am not as articulate as I once was. I work hard at not showing my disability. My wife Donna is also disabled. She has a chronic lung condition that means she needs oxygen to go for walks, climbing stairs, etc. All of this is to say that it is finally dawning on me that we are getting old. We need help from time to time with technical things like managing our iPhones, getting Netflix set up, washing our windows, and having the yard work done in our Salmon Arm home. We are marginal – both handicapped old people. I need help growing old gracefully.
In my head I don’t feel old: I still identify with Jack Ryan! I eat Paleo, care about climate change, have reduced our plastic use by about 75%, like to shop at Hollister, and lust after a new hard top Miata. I cherish the time spent with my younger friends, thoroughly enjoy my grandchildren, and choose to be as active as possible, but I can no longer ski or rollerblade.
This summer I was feeling depressed about growing old and the fact that Donna and I need help. We are no longer as independent as we once were. My yard helper graduated, quit, and left for Bible School, and as I was really praying about it. I felt God, who I have loved and served for 64 years saying, “It’s okay. Trust Me.” It was a bit of an aha moment followed by practical encouragement at a time when I was feeling discouraged and incompetent. I hired a 15 year old to do my yard work, and he is meticulous. I feel like the Lord sent him along.
God’s provision continues. I inherited a beautiful glass curio cabinet that needed to be moved from Vernon to Salmon Arm and there were no movers available during the times I needed. I was stressing about it when out of the blue one of my friends said that he could do it for me. He is not a mover, but he is experienced and careful. The cabinet is irreplaceable. When we went to pick up the cabinet another friend was waiting to help load it. I simply held the door. When we got home, and I was stepping up to help carry in the cabinet, I felt my neighbour’s hand on my shoulder gently moving me out of the way and picking up the load for me. Another “Thank you, Lord!” moment.
Recently in one of his sermons Lloyd mentioned another senior struggling with disability saying to him, “Jesus is enough”. As I reflected on my life I realized, “Of course He is and has been all along!”
Donna cannot go to the building where Immanuel meets without respiratory distress, and again I was praying about what to do. Knowing Immanuel Church was being adopted by St. Peter’s Fireside, Donna and I came to St. Peter’s and we love it. We live in Beach Towers in the West End. We can go from our undercover parking lot to the UBC underground parking in 10 minutes, we don’t even need jackets, and Donna doesn’t need oxygen. We have been blessed and encouraged by the teaching and worship at St. Peter’s. Alastair and Preston are great. We are currently praying about getting into a small group.
Recently I was bringing my four year old grandson home from gymnastics on the bus, it was crowded, and a young man jumped up and with a big smile gave me his seat. I didn’t expect it – don’t feel that old, but was honoured just the same. As an added bonus Levi climbed up into my lap and snuggled right in. I got to cuddle him all the way home. Again I felt Jesus blessing me and looking after me, like He is inviting me to just snuggle right in, and He will hold me as I struggle with ageing. Jesus is enough.