Senior Strength

In my youth, I relished my responsive and (what I imagined) ever-replenishable vigor. Whenever I saw an older person, bent in frame and slow of gait, I oft presumed I wouldn’t face such a fate. My surmise, laden with arrogance and ignorance; compounded by a surfeit of misbelief about corporeal immortality.

Now, with time’s inexorable passage and the inevitability of aging, I follow and draw closer to the daily experience of the elder community of the human family. In this, my perspective necessarily is altered. So, too, my sense of what constitutes strength…

Yesterday, the town square was filled with people basking in the delight of a luminous, clear blue-skyed Sunday afternoon. Into my line of sight, a man, gray-haired, slight of frame, hunched over and with evident labor, pushing a wheelchair-bound woman, I presumed his bride, along an elevated sidewalk. His exertion, the very symbol, aye, realization of indefatigable devotion.

Instantly, my eyes misty, thinking of my bride, our wedding anniversary a week before, heavenward I whispered, “May my devotion daily as boundless prove.”

© 2022 PRA

#loveisloveisloveislove #thepoweroflove

6 thoughts on “Senior Strength

  1. Dear Paul,

    Your musings today about your cavalier attitude toward the slowness and debilitations of age when you were young struck such a note with me! I’m sure every single of one us who was lucky enough to be unencumbered by illness or disability at one time or another truly believed that our own bodies (and minds!) would never succumb to weakness, uncertainty, loss of balance, stiffness, and pain and would always work as instantly and easily as they did in those naive and perhaps thoughtless days. I was thinking just a day or so ago of walking with my elderly great aunt to the grocery store when I was 12 or 13 and her asking me to slow down. My flippant response was that if I walked any more slowly I was sure I would be going backwards. She patiently absorbed my ignorance and disrespect, and I now fervently wish I could recover the chance to apologize and take her arm.

    As for your noticing the elderly man pushing the woman in the wheelchair yesterday, from what I’ve seen and known of you and Pontheolla, I have no doubt at all that both of you will be tender, thoughtful companions to the other when age begins to take its inevitable toll. I am so thankful for Ted’s thoughtful attention to my increasing needs for accompaniment and assistance as I age. I pray for the strength and grace to stand by him in the same way should the need arise. (There are those who think there was some wisdom in my choosing a man nearly five years my junior to marry!)

    Thanks for sharing those thoughts, your experience yesterday, and your lovely hopes.

    Much love,

    Karen

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  2. Always, my beloved Karen, I thank you for your quintessential generosity of wisdom and spirit in delving deeply into the stuff of life, and then sharing your insights with me. Bless you and Ted!

    As I reflect afresh, I find it — in one sense, humorous and, in another, most serious (as in delusional), but in either and both cases — ironic that I continue to harbor hope (in this regard, not the anticipation of faith, but rather wishful thinking) that, somehow, Pontheolla and I will age and escape all changes (at times, ravages) of that inexorably (as we continue to live in this realm) existential state. I know far, far better than that. Still, it — aging and each and all its necessarily attendant changes — in its still relatively unknown (for, even now, we have daily hints!) elements, remains a mystery. And as I can see (imagine) only so much, I continue to pray the fulfillment of my supplication: “May my devotion daily as boundless prove.”

    Love,
    Paul

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  3. And I will simply utter, for you and for myself as well, a heartfelt “Amen.” 🙂

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  4. This post really got yo me Paul!! I have two deep feeling as I read this….. 1) I have no idea who will help me if I need it years from now and that SCARES ME!! And 2) I still feel so cheated out of the opportunity to take care of Tim as he took care of me for 13 years. One week to help care for him was way too short. It would have been my honor to push him in any wheelchair and you know we would have made some kind of game out of it!!

    And I agree with Karen that you and Pontheolla will be great carers (as they call them in the UK) for each other!!

    Much love!

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  5. My dearest Loretta, know this: Oft I have thought (and felt!) about you, especially since our beloved Tim’s death. For the two of you, in the wealth of togetherness that you shared, were so bonded in life and, I believe, remain bonded in his death. Nevertheless, in his earthly absence, yes, surely, you have thought and do think about your care in your inevitable elder years. This your awareness, certainly, is deepened by your hand-in-hand pilgrimage with Doris in her long journey toward the threshold between this world and the next. As for caring for Tim, doubtless, you would have been brilliantly present and boundlessly giving. It was not to be. Not in this world. Still, as you give yourself away to, with, and for others — throughout every iteration of your laboring life and, now, in your ministry as caregiver’s advocate par excellence — you exemplify, verily, incarnate God’s Love.

    Love you, always and in all ways,
    Paul

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  6. …. and once again, I offer a very heartfelt “Amen” to each and every one of your words, Paul.

    Love to both of you!!!!

    Karen

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