What do skunks and snakes, bees and bats, turtles and groundhogs all have in common? Along with bears, these are some of the animals that hibernate during the winter months. Sometimes, I wish I could join them and sleep through the winter months and wake up to springtime and flowers. Wouldn’t it be delightful to curl up in a soft warm blanket; on a comfy, luxurious, king-size bed; surrounded with fluffy yet firm pillows; and sleep away the dark and damp and gloomy and frigid months of winter? [To be honest, hibernating for the next four years would be “fantastic” as well.]
This winter, many of my dear family, friends and I are entering the “Winter years” of our lives. We are all getting older. A telling sign of growing past middle age is when the “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercial is no longer funny. This is because it could happen to us. Aging also bring many serious medical conditions. For example, very special people in my family and in my church are facing difficult times – cancer, heart problems, respiratory problems, diabetes, depression, back surgery, failing knees and other joint distress from arthritis. Thankfully, not everyone will encounter these serious conditions as they grow older but, almost everyone who lives long enough will experience other signs of aging – deteriorating eyesight and hearing, body aches [arthritis], trouble with moving around, memory and recall and concentration problems, insomnia, digestive difficulties. The list goes on.
As far as my own aging goes, the process is going at a faster pace for me due to my cerebral palsy. I say this because I thought I would be dealing with the signs of aging in my seventies and not in my fifties and sixties. In my early sixties I am in a wheelchair and need help with most of my daily needs. No longer being able to walk took a toll on me. I loved being able to walk all over Northampton. I loved being able to shower and get dressed and go to wherever I wanted go whenever I wanted to go. I loved cooking and grilling simple gourmet food. I enjoyed helping people in a tangible ways. It seemed like all the activities I enjoyed were being taken away from me one by one. I wasn’t sure if I could live this “ new way life.” It has taken a long time, but I am growing to accept my limitations with the help of many people.
Before my blog post sounds hopeless [like the last inaugural address], I want to assure you there is HOPE. My hope is in God. When I am angry at God, He has unconditional love for me. When I question His existence, He holds me tight. When I need medical help, He puts the right people in my path. God is always on my side. God will help me through my struggles. No matter what my limitations are, God has a job for me to do. God wants me to pray for those who are struggling with medical conditions and other serious problems. God wants me to show His kindness and patience and speak encouraging words to my helpers. My goal is to be a good example of Jesus’ compassion, mercy and love. God wants me to ask for and gratefully accept His forgiveness when I fail. God wants me to also forgive others and humbly ask others to forgive me.
God is worthy of my trust. We can trust each winter will end and give way to SPRING. God will also turn the “winter of our days” into something beautiful and everlasting.
“For Lo, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone;
the flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing birds
Song of Solomon 2:11-12