Old Age is a Trade-Off

March 12, 2010

Sr. Wantabee was swimming her laps this morning, plowing ahead in high gear breast stroke, when she passed two little ole ladies in aerobic-walk-across-the-pool exercises. Sliding by with her head above water, she heard one lady say to the other, “Old age is a trade off. You give up your hip for flexibility.” Old age is a trade off, pondered she. What am I trading for?

  • speed for perseverence: my kids may run faster but I plod longer.
  • passion for companionship: perhaps the love life does not have all the passion of youth but the depth of companionship and partnership and comfort is unmatchable.
  • focus for depth: when young being task oriented but now having a wealth and breadth of experiences to enjoy any task.
  • 1/2 mile of swimming for 1/4 mile of swimming: but I’m still swimming!
  • the pursuit of financial security for the ability to pace “wants and haves”: I don’t plan as much for tomorrow because tomorrow is today!
  • finding the “right guy” for enjoying the guy who has been right for me.
  • Seventeen magazine to discover the right look for a good book and a cup of coffee: but actually my daughter has been reading Tale of Two Cities and enjoying it.
  • meditating on what the future might bring for meditating on the unexpected joys the future has brought
  • a big future looming on the horizon for a rich past with wonderful memories
  • friendships of the moment for friendships that have weathered a life time: my daughter has a “new friend” who called yesterday and asked if she wanted a samosa and I have an old friend many states away who faithfully prays for me.

Yes, old age is a trade-off but as far as I can tell, the trade is worth making. Perhaps the disappointed hopes, the grey hair, wrinkles, and the sagging muscles that need swimming are a small price to pay in the trade-off.  I wonder how many are willing to trade and how many are holding tight to a life that is passing in fear they will get the raw end of the deal?

To Believe or Not Believe, That is the Question

March 11, 2010

Sr. Wantabee had two interesting hospital visits today. Bed 1, “undesignated” faith, bed 2 “Christian.” One a woman, one a man. She in her 80s, he in his 70s. She a hip replacement, he a knee replacement. Somehow they were further apart than the ten feet of wall between them.

She was the daughter of a father whose father was a Methodist minister that ignored the family for the sake of his church. The bitter father married her fundamentalist mother and the girls went to church. But early on she detected the hypocrisy when she and her friends made a pack not to let anyone go alone with the pastor who liked women. Gather money for the people in Africa but don’t bring them here! Indian children forced from homes on the reservation to get an education. Christianity is just hypocrisy. “But surely by your 80s, with more years behind than in front, you can distinguish between truth and the people who live truth and distort it for their own purposes? Truth is not less true because people twist it. Just because I disagree with my friend does not mean I don’t love her.” Churches gather money and build buildings while people starve, she responded. No religion is not for her. She is not a hypocrite.

In the next room lay a man, well read and traveled who had lost his job in the church because of a messy divorce those many years ago. But, said he, he has had a successful career for twenty years, married a wonderful woman who added three more children to his three and really life has turned out very nice. He has found a wonderful church and periodically is asked to serve church needs. Sr. Wantabee and he pondered reconciliation and writings of some of the best. She remembered her failures too and marveled at the restoration and joy she has found in using her talents differently than she had envisioned as a youth, or even ten years ago.

Bed one did not pray but a tear hung on the corner of her eye. She could not believe nor wanted to. Bed two bowed his head and prayed with Sr. Wantabee.

To believe or not believe. How does one give up being the victim to step across the great divide?

Why Study a Book for Inspiration: Wonder #2

March 10, 2010

In the first Wonder entry we looked at “soul food or food for the soul,” what feeds us. I don’t know about you but I love to turn on my radio in the car and if those songs from the ’60s and early ’70s are playing, I’m back to my young adulthood. I love a cup of coffee with a friend where we can just “chew the fat,” and philosophize about all the wonders of life. A walk in nature is great as long as there are not too many bugs, I know where I’m going, and best with a friend. A good book is like a day of vacation. I’m starting the Winslow series with my little ole people and we all love it. A night at a good movie with friends when I am too tired to think, will also revive me. I would say the way to my heart is through my mind but when my blood sugar is low, problems loom large. When I’m exhausted, the bed calls.
In this lesson we want to start looking at a book that has inspired people through the ages. Why has the Bible consistently hung in there as one of the top selling books?

1. _____It’s great literature.
2. _____Inspiration and guidance for daily life.
3. _____It is a symbol of truth and authority.
4. _____It records history from several perspectives.
5. _____To nurture and encourage faith.
6. _____Comfort in times of grief or stress.
7. _____To engage in ongoing reflection about life.

If you checked all of the above, you are right. People come to the Bible for many different reasons. Truth, inspiration, poetry, history are all found in its covers.

Which Bible verse inspires you the most to check out the Book?

______”Come to me all who are weak and heavy laddened and I will give you rest.”
______”All scripture is useful for teaching, reproof, instruction and training in righteousness.”
_____”Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my way.”

Life’s Unfair

March 9, 2010

Sr. Wantabee cried today. She received news this morning as she headed off to the hospital that a young family she’s involved with miscarried again. Unfair her heart cried. Her first patient at the hospital was a young girl going in for a regular, routine, small surgery but chatted a bit. She was the child of a cross cultural adoption, of similar faith, and had informed her parents that morning of her small surgery. It was a nice time of prayer. Sr. Wantabee read the records and discovered that the patient too was the struggling with complications of a miscarriage. Unfair. The next gentleman was lying on an airbed, paralyzed from the airpits down. Having debated with the water department for years about the sewer cap near his house that always came off, the cap not being fixed, he had gone out to put it back in place a couple years back. The pipe blew as he did it, sending him forty feet in the air and crashing to paralysis. Public services is us and you cannot sue yourself and so insurance had eaten up all his retirement and assets. Unfair. Sr. Wantabee cried. Life is unfair. Then she remembered the many times she had responded to her kids when they complained about something not being fair, “That’s right, life is not fair.” The unfairnesses of life are like that pig in the slop with the prodigal son. What do we do with the bitterness and disappointment? Can we “come to ourselves” and return to the creator or do we sit in our grump? It’s a good question.


March 6, 2010

I met despair today, just sitting there.
I tried to breath but there was no air.
Her head hung low,
Her speech was slow.
“My friend,” said I
“Despair I spy.
Now look at me
What can it be?”
The church she loves,
It is her boast,
May choose to die.
“Oh my, but why?”
They took a test
They tried their best.
They wanted to know
Their growth is slow.
The diagnosis came back
No life to track.
The end is near.
I won’t bend your ear.
“But can it be, a test can tell
If a church has power to swell?
Does God abandon a work of his?
Does Holy Spirit stop his bizz?
I thought about the crucifixion
Christ stood alone, “crucify” their diction
But no one claims this as defeat.
No one says that God was beat.
The sun still shines and let’s us know,
God will help our trees in spring to grow.
David faced Goliath bold.
If test were given, he’d have no score.
No height, no age, no strength, it’s true.
A test if given would make you blue.
Moses too would not score high.
The Red Sea at back
Pharoah’s army nigh
A test if given, the score would show
No future for those folks of old.
OK, let’s look upon Daniel’s den,
The lions starved, hemmed him in.
Shall we give a survey and check the scene?
Will he live or on to heaven beam?
The facts looked horribly grim.
Was there truly a future for him?
All these cases go to show
A man made test has forgot the glow.
A God who works in horrible places
A God who loves to cure disgraces.
Do not despair my most loved friend,
What ere befalls, you can lean on Him.

The Pig and The Calf

March 5, 2010

February 14th Sr. Wantabee had the privilege of preaching on the Fox, Herod who wanted to kill Jesus, and the Hen, God who wanted to gather his Jerusalem chicks under his wings, but they would not. The sly old leader gave Jesus over to be crucified and the mother hen gave her life for her chicks, Christ was crucified. The tables are turned as the silly hen becomes the hero and the beautiful fox becomes the villain. March 14th Sr. Wantabee will venture into the pulpit again but this time to ponder the pig and the calf. Will the tables be turned again?

Perhaps you know the story. It is really very common. A father has two children. One dreams of the wonderfulness of life “out there.” “Out there” might be getting to drive the family car without parents, getting a job and apartment, finding the right boyfriend, marriage, a pay raise. It is something that seems achievable if only the obstacles of now were removed. This child demands his inheritance and ventures forth to conquer the world.

The other sibling dreams of “right here” becoming the answer. Prince charming will come by; hard work will bring good tax returns, whatever is going on will transform him into the person he dreams he will become. This child follows the “system” and doesn’t “push the envelope.”  The “out there” child demands his inheritance and heads off to find his future. The “right here” child stays within the system and works dutifully. Read the rest of this entry »


March 1, 2010

Friday evening Sr Wantabee visited a dinner theatre and saw an outstanding production of the musical Footloose. Fantastic music, dancing and story line. Single mom with high school son move from Chicago, hipsville, to nowheresville–a perfect setting for culture shock, not unsimilar to Sr. Wantabee moving from Los Angeles to the bush of Africa. In the town, an accident had occurred four years previously resulting in the death of four youth, one being the son of the pastor. The town has set up all sorts of rules like “no dancing” to protect their youth from accident and the pains of life. Of course the youth are frustrated, the adults legalistic, as in walks our hip hero from Chicago, ready to “push the envelope.” Our hero falls for the pastor’s daughter who is rebelling also and together they challenge the system to let their feet loose to dance. Read the rest of this entry »