Day 206- Facing Mortality- A Conversation

Tonight I attend the 60th birthday part of a good friend. This is one of the rare places where I am one of the younger ones in the room. Ty and I are seated at a table with a vibrant, youthful 65 year old guy and a “young couple”. He’s 45 and she’s 39- facing her 40th birthday.  The conversation turns to aging. The older gentleman tells us his age and none of us can believe he’s actually 65.  His mother is in her late 80s and still active. His grandparents lived into their 90s, but he’s struggling with being 65.  Mortality is not something he wants to face.  High school reunions wreck him because the people there look so old.  The death of David Bowie shook him.  Bowie was just barely older than he is.  He enjoys life and does not want to go.  We’ve been talking for a while so he knows a little about us.  He says “people like us” want to stay here and enjoy life.  How little does he know about me.  I grin and bite my tongue. My mortality is a gift. I’m not particularly looking forward to staying here. Quite the opposite.  I don’t want to live in this body forever.  I commiserate with the “girl” (she’s a girl to me) turning 40.  She’s looking back over her life and the things she has and hasn’t done and 40 is a tough milestone for her. I tell her 40 was a rough birthday for me. It was. It was the toughest one.  At 30 I felt kind of old, but I felt like I was finally an adult. And I had most of my life still stretched out in front of me.  At 50 I didn’t really care about aging anymore, but 40 was a real turning point.  40 was when I realized I was probably more than half way.

The problem the 65 year old has is he keeps looking 20 years out. So, at 65 when he looks 20 years out, his future becomes murky.  Yes, his parents lived that long, his grandparents lived longer than that, but he’s not assured he’s going to be here and be healthy that far down the the line. Then the soon to be 40 year old says something profound.  "Don’t look 20 years out. Think about now.  Think about today. Enjoy the music being played in this room right now. Enjoy the conversation tonight.  This is all we have.“  

Yes!  I spare them the lesson learned from Shayna’s passing. I don’t want to pile on him, but this is something at his age he needs to know.    Tomorrow isn’t assured to any of us. Worrying about 20 years out is a waste of your time whether your’e 5, 15, 25 or 65. Yes, we have to plan for these bodies. We have to save and build homes and the like.  We need to take reasonable care of the vehicles that house our souls for this trip.  But, I wanted to tell him to not spend another moment worried about where he’s going to be in 20 years because, as Jesus so profoundly said

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Truer words have never been spoken.  Be grateful for the 65 years you’ve had, your health today.  The fact your parents have made it to the 80s with good health is a bonus. Be glad for that, but it’s no guarantee for you.  And worrying about it will not add a single day, nay even an single hour to your time. Carpe diem.  As for me, every day I put behind me is a blessing as I continue to run toward the end of this dream.

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