I like to read in Ecclesiastes. Perhaps it’s because this book seems to entreat the reality of daily life, or maybe it’s just my melancholy personality. I recently read this passage in chapter 12 verses 3-7 from The Message:
In old age your body no longer serves you well. Muscles slacken, grip weakens, joints stiffen. The shades are pulled down on the world. You can’t come and go at will. Things grind to a halt. The hum of the household fades away. You are wakened now by bird-song. Hikes to the mountains are a thing of the past. Even a stroll down the road has its terrors. Your hair turns apple-blossom white, adorning a fragile and impotent matchstick body. Yes, you’re well on your way to eternal rest, while your friends make plans for your funeral. Life, lovely while it lasts, is soon over. Life as we know it, precious and beautiful, ends. The body is put back in the same ground it came from. The spirit returns to God, who first breathed it.
I’d love to sit beside you as you read this, see your expressions, and hear your thoughts. But, since we are not together, I’ll share some of my thoughts. By all means, freely share your thoughts through the comments place below.
At first, I thought that this passage describes what is common to all of us who make it to old age. There is a certain comradery in the shared experience. Then I found almost sweetness to this delineation of the signs of old age. The pressures and tensions of youth are gone. I realize that my world will become smaller, as the concerns of the world at large become beyond me.
Rest will not be an option. Pushing through won’t be possible. Maybe in this limited state, I’ll simply sit back and appreciate God’s creation and visit with him undistracted by the urgent.
My conclusion is that old age is a part of life. To embrace it is wisdom. There is no need to fight against the inevitable. I like to think of old age as part of the transition into eternal life. The pain and discomforts of my body are temporary. I want to enjoy what I can of this life while I still have breath and be content that the future is beyond my greatest expectations.