Thoughts on Turning 65!

On wrinkles:

I am getting very comfortable with the ever increasing lines on my face. Like circles on the core of a tree, they not only reveal the number of years I have lived, but the intensity with which I have lived them. Deeply etched smile lines remind me that love and laughter have been a huge part of my life. I would like to think that the deep ridge between my eyes is from years of squinting in the sun, but alas, I admit, I have also been a worrier! I do wonder why so many in Hollywood go to such great extremes to erase such a canvas of memories!

On progress:

I am old enough to have used a black rotary dial telephone with a ‘party line’ and Cedar 7267 telephone number. (Go figure – I can remember that, but have trouble with my passwords today!) A bottle of coke was 5 cents and a Popsicle 4 cents. My friends were a collection of misfits from a neighbourhood on the wrong side of the tracks in Burnaby. We met regularly for an impromptu game of football, baseball, ‘cowboys and Indians’ card trading, marbles or (used) bike riding. On Saturdays, we walked safely to the movie theatre and for 25 cents cheered our way through the latest Roy Rogers or Gene Autry adventure. A considerable amount of time was also spent plotting out nasty ways to annoy the neighbours!

And I was nine before we got our first television which was a black and white Marconi with absolutely useless white neon ‘halo’ around the screen. Reception with rabbit ears was a fuzzy channel and occasionally my father would add SOS pads to the tips to bring in a clearer picture. I was an avid fan of Howdy Doody time! My first airplane ride was a nine hour flight from Montreal to London and I sat in the rear of the plane which was designated ‘smoking’! My first job was in a bank in the mortgage department. I worked with a ‘calculator’ the size of a small suitcase! My first car was a 1955 faded green Plymouth with worn fuzzy beige fabric seats. I bought it off my favourite aunt for $100.00. My favourite aunt ripped me off! Gas was 25 cents a gallon (the price of a package of cigarettes as well) – a great relief to me as I rarely had more than $2.00 in my purse!

On love:

My first love was a young French Canadian whose locker was opposite mine. I believe his name was Pierre LaFrance. I loved his accent, his duck tail (James Dean was famous for this hair style) and his white tee-shirt with rolled up sleeves where I was sure he stored cigarettes when he was off school property! I was quite a mousy looking 13 year old and he never noticed me, nor knew of my deep affection for him. My second love was Rodney Mulligan, a name at which my daughters  still laugh uproariously. Rodney was a very brief fling as shortly after our first date I met the true love of my life. A handsome dude from Port Moody who kidnapped me at a football game (literally) and four years later decided that he wanted me till death do us part! I have a sign on my family photo wall that says “family….all because two people fell in love” and it is surrounded by photos of our two incredibly beautiful daughters, the men they love, and nine amazing grandchildren.

On faith:

My faith journey began for me when I was nine years old. My father (a backslidden Catholic) gave me a white King James Bible for my birthday. I was shocked as it was so out of character for him and I remember that I read about ¼ of the way through Genesis before tucking it away in frustration. However, I developed a ‘fascination’ with the things of God and had big questions that no one could answer. And so I began to commune with ‘my’ God – an old man in the sky who would answer desperate prayers if I would promise to be a better person or go to church etc., etc. Although I took Catechism in the Anglican Church, became involved in Young Life, attended church on high days and holidays, and married the (closeted) son of a ‘Reverend’, ‘my’ God remained that old man in the sky until I was 27 years old! And then suddenly, through a ‘series of unfortunate events’, I began to feel that the Old man in the sky wanted to show Himself as more than a superhero who said ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to my many requests based on His mood that day. And so I started researching…and discovered that He had a Son who was the Bridge to having a real and intimate relationship with God. And not only that, God had also provided a Holy Spirit who was there to comfort me in a way no human ever could, to teach me deep truths that I could never comprehend without His help, and to give me supernatural tools to help me along the way. And so one day, alone at my kitchen sink, I said ‘yes’ to everything – yes I need help, yes I want to live an empowered life, yes I want to know You and I want to be known by You, yes I want to stand with You, as a friend, as a partner, as a disciple and as a follower of Jesus in this whacky world. The Bible defines faith as ‘the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen’. And since that day in my 27th year, my life has become increasingly rich in both.

On trials:

James 1:2-8: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

This is one of those writings that for me, made no sense until I walked into and out of one of the most frightening seasons of my life. Our little girls were three and four, our business was flourishing and life was going very well for us until one day in November when Gord came home with what we thought was the flu. Within 24 hours, he was in intensive care on peritoneal dialysis and diagnosed with the same kidney disease that had taken his brother’s life. My mom flew up to be with the girls, while I stayed at Gord’s bedside, frightened, confused, and helpless. He was in constant and excruciating pain and unable to communicate and I had no option available other than to fall on the Rock. What transpired over the next three week was a series of miracles that can best be told in person, but to bottom line – Gord was miraculously healed (verified) and I, an exceedingly grateful and forever changed woman!

On regrets:

The older I get, I realize the less I am able to blame my friends, my family, my enemies, the dog or even my family tree for my shortcomings or dysfunction. I stand totally alone, responsible for my choices, my decisions, and my sin and yet totally covered and forgiven in Jesus. Still, I am left looking at the consequences of my life’s decisions. I wonder why I haven’t been a better representative of Christ to my family and friends and those whose lives have intersected with mine. Have I tried too hard or not hard enough? The thought of any of my loved ones missing out on a relationship with the Creator is more than I can bare. But then I remember – that worry line in my forehead is already deep enough and so I pray and I wait with tremendous hope– all things are possible for those who are called according to His purposes!

On thankfulness:

Heb 12:28-29: Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire! (from THE MESSAGE)

Oh my – I am blessed woman – and thankful, exceedingly, unashamedly, forever and a day thankful! Thankful for a husband who has loved and cared for me through the best of times and the worst of times. He is my soul mate, my friend, my mentor, my lover and my hero and I thank God often for him. I am thankful for daughters who love me and tease me and laugh with me and have forgiven me of my controlling ways of parenting! I am thankful that as grown women we have become best friends. I am thankful for son-in-laws who love and care for my daughters and grandchildren with great passion. I am thankful for grandchildren and step grandchildren who are traveling on their own spiritual journey and along the way have discovered Jesus. I am thankful for the opportunity to care for my mom and Gord’s dad in their last years and the laughter and lessons and memories that we have shared. I am thankful for the many friends that I have come to know and appreciate along my spiritual journey and the many more that are to come. And I am forever thankful to Jesus, my redeemer and my best friend, who has been there with me, whether I recognized Him or not!

65 – it’s a very, very, very good year!

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