Forgiveness – The Unexpected Gift of Freedom

It’s springtime here.  And it’s beautiful.  We moved last September to a tiny, hamlet-style town just 20 minutes from the city.  We love our new home…and neighbourhood.  I have absolutely no green-thumb, but my yards are completely (and meticulously) landscaped (from the previous owners).  Each time I bring the children outside to play, I’m constantly checking the shrubs and perennials that line our fence.  I check often because I have no clue if I’m supposed to be pruning off the dead, stick-like stems of what were once beautiful flowers just months ago, or if I should leave them in hopes of a miraculous, life-like appearance once again.  But each time I go outside, the signs of new life are everywhere.  The trees are budding and tiny, green shoots are peeking through the rock beds.  Each time I venture into my own backyard, I witness something new and alive.  It’s beautiful.  Miraculous!

It’s Sunday afternoon.  The thunder rolled and the rain poured.  The puddles are deep and wide.  Peacefully, my children napped through the storm.  After waking from her rest, my daughter took one look outside and her face awoke with excitement, eyes widened, a smile cracking, revealing an inner joy.  To add to the already blossoming excitement, she saw her friend already outside jumping in the puddles on our cul-de-sac.  I had the ultimate joy of sitting in my livingroom, watching the girls play on our street, running through the puddles and squealing as they chased their umbrellas which were tumbling around in the wind.  For some reason my five-year-old thought that having her umbrella run away on her was the most hysterical thing in the world.  I smiled, listening to the rain gently fall, and the squeals of glee, mixed with the all-out gutteral bursts of laughter coming from my daughter.  Is there anything more beautiful and peaceful than the joy that comes from listening to the sounds of your child’s laughter, or to witness their pure and innocent joy and happiness?

When we witness the happiness of our children, it brings a rush of joy to our hearts and souls.  Think about it.  Why do parents go to the ends of the earth to find that lost teddy bear?  Why do parents painfully pull out their wallets once again at the carnival when they see the pleading in their child’s eyes to play that game or ride that ride just one more time?  Why do we lavish gifts on our children at Christmastime (or Easter, or Valentine’s day, or for the really bad ones…Arbour day? ;))  If you’re like me, chances are you’ve probably even thought something similar to, “OK, I mean it.  This year, I’m going cheap.  They have more than enough toys.  They really don’t need anything!  A couple small gifts each.  That’s all they really need.”  The next thing you know, you’ve spent $400 at Costco (on the kids gifts alone) and you didn’t actually think through how you were going to get all of your purchases home.  Or maybe you’ve stood in line for hours (or days) on Black Friday awaiting the massive sales on toys – that special one your child has been eyeing for weeks.  Of course, I always think it’s sad how we rush out to get more stuff after we just finished celebrating Thanksgiving – the holiday where we are supposed to be thankful for the things we do own…but I digress.  Why do we put ourselves through all of that hassle?  I think it’s because, sometimes, we live for that moment – the build-up – when they finally open that gift and you get to see their widened eyes, their mouths open in awe, sometimes with squeals of delight or sometimes with no words at all – that moment where joy and happiness radiate off of your child.  At the core, we are selfish people.  Yes, we want to bring joy and happiness to our children, but being able to witness it – that does something for us as well.  It brings joy and happiness to us.  We can’t help but smile.  We might even shed a tear depending on the situation and we might even think, “Yup!  It was all worth it.”

Basking in the moment of listening to my daughter’s joy, I had to wonder if that’s how God feels about His children.  It only makes sense.  Having a child tends to reveal a depth of love which I don’t think most of us know we are even capable of producing.  The moment a child is brought into the world and placed into our care, instinct sets in.  Regardless of the kind of parent you are, regardless if you let your kids watch too much t.v. or none at all, regardless if you let them eat only chips for supper or if you provide a full-balanced meal, regardless if you scream at your kids sometimes or are completely calm and collected all of the time (you’re a liar by the way), regardless if your baby has sat in that poopy diaper for 20 minutes longer than he probably should have or if your child was potty trained right from birth, regardless if you live with your child or only get to see them every other weekend, regardless of our failings or shortcomings, when our child is threatened or hurt, that also does something to us.  We either rise up as an evil monster comes out of us to do whatever it takes to protect our child, or our hearts will break as we watch them suffer and learn the hard knocks of life on their own terms.  We are connected to them because they are our own and we love them.  Just like God is to us.

How He must hurt when we hurt.  How He must wish we wouldn’t have made some of the decisions we did.  How He must ache draw near and comfort us.  How He must want to guide us in healthy directions, keeping us from harm.  How He must yearn to take our place sometimes so we don’t have to go through the pain of learning or paying for our mistakes on our own.  Oh, wait.  He did.  Over 2000 years ago, on a cross, on a hill called Golgotha.  Because we are His own and He loves us.

Can you imagine how it must have felt to watch His only Son be tortured?  Spit on?  Mocked and ridiculed?  To witness the false accusations against Him and sit by and say nothing?

How deep the Father’s love for us?  How vast beyond all measure!  

For sending His only Son to die a death that was never deserved, He sure doesn’t ask for a lot in return.  As a loving Father, He seeks to steer us toward paths of righteousness – good things!  He desires to keep us from the hurt that this world brings.  He asks for our trust, our belief, and our obedience.  If you think of God in any manner but a kind, compassionate, and loving Father, you must think Him to be demanding, cruel, and a keeper from a life full of fun and happiness.

But just suppose for a moment He is Who He says He is.  Suppose for a moment that He actually is the way, the truth, and the life?  What if He is good?  What if He is kind?  What if He is the best example of what a loving parent ought to look like?  What if He actually tells the truth and means what He says?  At first glance, what God asks for in return – our trust, our belief, and our obedience – doesn’t seem all that impossible.  But when we take a closer look, these three little words have big implications on every aspect of our lives.  But I want to look at one specific area of obedience that Christ calls His children to – an area in which God has been teaching me a lot about lately –

Forgiveness.

Do you cringe when you hear that word?  Maybe you’re even thinking, “Oh, she’s going there?  Nope!”, and proceed to exit this webpage.  But if we haven’t fully forgiven, doesn’t it just mean that we aren’t spiritually mature enough to face that area of our lives?  Harsh, I know!  But nevertheless, true?

Two points I want to make right from the get-go:

  1. Forgiveness does NOT mean that you must continue in a relationship with somebody who has harmed you or hurt you.  Forgiveness takes only one person.
  2. Forgiveness is NOT the same as reconciliation.  Reconciliation takes two people.

So what IS forgiveness?  Forgiveness is the relinquishment of your desire for vengeance and justice against the person who has wronged you.  From her book, Passion Pursuit, Author Juli Slattery states,

You must understand that the forgiveness God has called you to, for yourself and others, does not compete with justice.  The loving Savior who hung on the cross is still the judge who is seated at the right hand of the Father.  He is still the Righteous One who says that, “Everything done in secret will be exposed.” (Mark 4:22)

But this righteous judge has another name: Redeemer.  He brings redemption for one reason – because He loves.

Forgiveness brings freedom – to you.  It has nothing to do with the person who has wronged you.  Extending forgiveness releases your hold of anger, vengeance, justice, grudges, and hostility – on yourself.  It frees you to be at peace.  It does not mean that when something unlawful has occurred, you refrain from making a report to the local authorities or don’t press charges.  It does mean that you:

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor [perpetual animosity, resentment, strife, fault-finding] and slander be put away from you, along with every kind of malice [all spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence].

And instead, choose to:

Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and FREELY], just as God in Christ also forgave you.

Wow!  What a calling!  And yet…when we stop focusing on the sin of others and “look at the log (the bigger sins) in our own eye” (Matthew 7:3), we slowly come to a place of humility.  Before the perfect God in heaven, recognizing our own sin, we can’t help but fall prostrate in repentance.  In that very moment, forgiving others from their “debt” against us, becomes significantly easier.  But in that moment of our own sin recognition, we also come to a place where we realize that we must also forgive ourselves.  I would argue that, most often, forgiveness of self is the most difficult kind of forgiveness we could ever extend.  Upon realization of our own sin, self-forgiveness becomes almost impossible – because there are weights attached to it.  It would mean the relinquishment of guilt.  It would mean letting go of the shame we are burdened so heavily with.  It would mean freedom from our own personal vengeance and justice – letting go of the self-inflicted need to suffer for our sins.  It means letting go of your own pride – your independent desire “to settle your own score, pay your own bill, make your own way” (Passion Pursuit, p. 142).  Let me be very clear:

WE CANNOT SAVE OURSELVES.

BUT, we can, however, place ourselves in a similar posture of the woman from Luke 7, before the ultimate Savior and Redeemer.  Do you remember her?  This is the woman who had “sinned much”.  From Luke 7:36-50 (TLB):

36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to come to his home for lunch and Jesus accepted the invitation. As they sat down to eat,

37 a woman of the streets—a prostitute—heard he was there and brought an exquisite flask filled with expensive perfume.

38 Going in, she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping, with her tears falling down upon his feet; and she wiped them off with her hair and kissed them and poured the perfume on them.

39 When Jesus’ host, a Pharisee, saw what was happening and who the woman was, he said to himself, “This proves that Jesus is no prophet, for if God had really sent him, he would know what kind of woman this one is!

40 Then Jesus spoke up and answered his thoughts. “Simon,” he said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.”

“All right, Teacher,” Simon replied, “go ahead.”

41 Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—$5,000 to one and $500 to the other.

42 But neither of them could pay him back, so he kindly forgave them both, letting them keep the money! Which do you suppose loved him most after that?”

43 “I suppose the one who had owed him the most,” Simon answered.  “Correct,” Jesus agreed.  

44 Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look! See this woman kneeling here! When I entered your home, you didn’t bother to offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair.

45 You refused me the customary kiss of greeting, but she has kissed my feet again and again from the time I first came in.

46 You neglected the usual courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has covered my feet with rare perfume.

47 Therefore her sins—and they are many—are forgiven, for she loved me much; but one who is forgiven little, shows little love.”

48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 Then the men at the table said to themselves, “Who does this man think he is, going around forgiving sins?”

50 And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.

Did you catch it?  “She knelt BEHIND Him, at His feet, weeping.”  This woman was at the lowest of lows in her town, her social class, and probably even her self-esteem.  She didn’t even feel worthy to kneel before Jesus’ feet; she knelt behind Him.  What sorrow and brokenness she must have brought before the Savior!  This woman had indeed, “sinned much”.  But where there is much sin, there is much forgiveness.  Where there is great sin, there is great redemption.

In order to forgive ourselves, we must believe that Jesus really is the TRUTH.  If He is true, what He says is also true.  Psalm 103:

vs. 3:  He forgives all my sins.  He heals me.

vs. 8-13:  He is merciful and tender toward those who don’t deserve it; He is slow to get angry and full of kindness and love.  He never bears a grudge, nor remains angry forever.  He has not punished us as we deserve for all our sins, for His mercy toward those who fear and honor Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.  He has removed our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west.  He is like a father to us, tender and sympathetic to those who reverence Him.

Do you believe it?  If not, you are indeed calling God a liar.  God longs to forgive us.  “He is like a Father to us…”

Do you dare let go?  Do you dare cling to truth?  Do you dare believe that God forgives you and even calls you to forgive yourself?  In humility, in brokenness, in repentance, dare to approach your “tender and sympathetic” Father.  From 1 John 1:9,

But if we confess our sins, God WILL forgive us. We can trust God to do this. He always does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrong things we have done.

God is that parent to us who longs to see us, His children, joyful and happy.  He hurts when we hurt; but how it must bring joy to God’s heart when He sees His children living in the freedom that He offers us, the freedom that His only Son died to purchase for us.  God delights in His children!  Psalm 149:4 states,

For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with victory.

Choose this very day to put your stake in the ground.  Claim the freedom and the miraculous newness of life that comes with forgiveness.  Run through those puddles and let out those squeals of glee, because you know that your tender and sympathetic, heavenly Father says to you, just like he said to the woman who had sinned much:

“YOU ARE FORGIVEN.  GO IN PEACE.”

Minivans, Vomit, and Frozen – What They Taught Me About Fear

I must have only been 10 or 11, but I clearly remember sitting on the floor of a friend’s van (we could do that 20 years ago if the seat belts were all occupied) and one of the children wouldn’t stop crying.  I didn’t get it.  We had just left his cousin’s house, not far from his own.  He could visit anytime he wanted; he could see them again the next day.  WHY was he crying?  Let me re-phrase: Why was he SCREAMING?  He happened to be sitting on the seat directly parallel to my spot on the floor, so my left ear received the full extent of his piercing, screaming sobs.  My eyes were wide.  I stared straight ahead, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why this 4-ish year old wouldn’t shut up.  In only a matter of, I’m sure, a few seconds, I could no longer hear my own thoughts, and I lost it.

“(Insert child’s name), SHUT UP!”  I shouted.  It only seemed logical to shout so he could hear me over his own screaming.  Immediately, both his mother and my mother shouted my name, scolding me.  It’s somewhat humorous looking back on the situation now, but it also serves as the earliest memory I have of “too much input”, a phrase my psychiatrist terms, “ADHD”.

A large part of ADHD, for me, is the complete inability to process my current surroundings/situations in the same manner or at the same rate that most people can.  For example, most people I know can drive a car and listen to a screaming child in the backseat, simultaneously.  Heck, some people can even do it while carrying on a conversation with another adult or listening to incessant, repetitive, and very annoying children’s music.  But I can’t.  No, really!  I’m incapable of processing those things.  My brain turns to fuzz.  Imagine, if you will, using the old “bunny-ears” antenna and the channel you wanted just wouldn’t receive or come in clearly.  The channel would be an annoyingly loud, scratchy sound and the screen would flicker a black/white/grey mess.  That is what my brain does when more than 2-3 things are happening around me at once.  I don’t “recept”, or process.  I shut down.  That’s when anxiety takes over.

Skip back to age 8 or 9.  My head hung over the toilet bowl while I vomited.  No stomach flu.  Just “nerves”.  I knew my dad was on his way to come pick me up for the 9 hour drive to his parent’s acreage for the week…over the Christmas holiday…yet again.  It wasn’t that those visits were terrible; sometimes they were OK.  But let’s just say my fondest memories of those visits were the late night cups of tea and endless games of Skip-Bo (or Scrabble) I played with my Gramma.  To this day, I don’t know why I was so nervous for those trips, nor do I care to over-analyze the “why” behind it, but I believe that trip in particular accounts for my earliest recollection of anxiety.

Fast-forward to today.  I have good days but lately, it seems, that the bad days tend to be more often than not.  “Bad days” are the ones filled with anxiety.  So much so, that the simple thought of driving to the city (only 20 minutes away) is enough to keep me at home.  Even when we are out of the grocery essentials, we stay home.  And what if the kids don’t behave picture-perfectly while in public?  We should stay home.

Let me paint the picture clearly for you:  My children do get along sometimes, but for the most part, each wants what the other has and when they can’t have it, a melt-down begins, usually by both children, crying or screaming at each other.  Hair has been pulled, faces have been hit, skin has been pinched, tears have rolled.  On a good day, I can process what is happening and put a stop to it immediately.  But on the bad days, all it takes is for that one blood-curdling scream to be voiced, and mommy loses it.  Again, the only logical thing to do is shout over the noise in order to be heard.  “STOP SCREAMING!  STOP PINCHING! DON’T PULL HAIR! STOP PUSHING! PUT IT BACK! LET GO, NOW!”  My almost-daily vocabulary.  It’s exhausting…and loud.  When you stay at home all day, every day, shouting the same things over and over, you tend to get…anxious.  To keep my sanity and to keep the peace (and quiet), I have allowed (too much) t.v. and screen time over the past few weeks.  Let’s just call that a coping method.  But you see, in today’s society, you can’t allow your kids to watch even a small amount of television without feeling some measure of guilt, because every mother knows (and has probably been told a few times) that the “American Academy of Pediatrics strongly urges parents to strictly limit screen time…It will fry their brains, they aren’t ready to handle it developmentally”, bla, bla, bla.  Yes, we know!  So even in our attempt to get some guilt-free sanity, there’s still an inkling of guilt.  It never really goes away, so neither does our insanity…or anxiety.

It’s been in our “too much screen time” weeks that we have had a re-surge of the movie, Frozen.  Since hearing Elsa’s song, Let It Go, when first released in 2013, I’ve often wished I could be like her.  For the few of you who haven’t seen the film, let me paraphrase:  Elsa has magical powers.  She turns things to ice.  Get it?  Frozen?  Anyway, she can use her powers for fun and for good, but when she uses her powers (or when they escape her) out of fear, damage occurs.  She kept her powers hidden for years until they escaped from her (out of fear) on her Coronation Day, in front of everyone.  So she fled.  When she’s leaving all she’s ever known to be “free”, she willingly uses her powers and sees what she’s actually capable of doing – creating beautiful winter-wonderlands, a magical ice-palace, Olaf (a snowman which comes to life), etc., and all the while, she sings the famous song, Let It Go.  For some reason her words resonate with me:

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation
and it looks like I’m the Queen

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in;
Heaven knows I’ve tried

Don’t let them in,
don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel,
don’t let them know
Well, now they know

(Chorus)

It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me,
I’m free

Chorus:
Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care
what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway

I’ve always wished I could “let it go” when it comes to things that have caused seemingly unwarranted anxiety, worry, or stress, but apparently I don’t posses the same powers as Elsa, nor can I simply run away from my responsibilities, become a hermit, and do what I want, when I want…although I have certainly tried at times.

Recently, I was thinking over how I have allowed my two-year-old (who throws a massive temper tantrum the very millisecond he doesn’t get what he wants) to control my life.  I don’t go into town because I don’t want to listen to the screaming fit that occurs when he drops his teddy bear, gets mad about it, so I almost drive off the highway to retrieve it and hand it back to him, he gets mad, throws it down again, and screams and cries about that fact all over again.  Because…I can’t be in a vehicle with a screaming child.  Therefore, I don’t go to the city.  I don’t dare volunteer at my daughter’s school.  My social anxiety certainly plays into that, but I think the real reason is I avoid it is, chances are, my son would have a tantrum, and we would end up leaving anyway…so why go through the hassle, have the glares or stares of other parents and teachers, just to walk out in shame?

A few days ago, while driving to the city – a situation that causes anxiety to begin with – along with my two children (who were getting antsy in the backseat), I was already incredibly anxious about an upcoming health appointment – the necessary reason for the trip.  I knew I wasn’t processing well that morning and needed to focus on driving (Saskatoon drivers…they’re crazy), so I popped in the only kid’s CD that I can handle, which also happens to be my kids’ favourite (and therefore, keeps them quiet-ish).  The first song came on and immediately the fighting subsided.  They started “seat-dancing” to the beat, and I started singing along (it’s weird…but sometimes that actually helps me to focus on my task at hand).  Then it hit me.  All of my anxiety had dissipated.  It was gone!  My situation hadn’t really changed though.  I was still driving in the city, the kids were still making noise (thankfully happy noises at this point), and I was still going to a dreaded appointment.  What changed?

My focus.

Take a listen.  Seriously!  Do it! (This is the song to which we were bouncing along.)

 

I love Brad’s music (and I’m proud to say we attended the same college years ago) but this song in particular really changes your focus, doesn’t it?  It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, what you’re going through, what you’re feeling, because when you start praising the Lord even in the midst of your circumstances, no room is left for anything else.  It was at that moment that some of Elsa’s Let It Go played in my head, “It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small, and the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all“.  Silly mommy.  My two-year-old hasn’t been controlling me, my actions, or even my re-actions.  It’s been fear.

Anxiety is driven by fear.  Fear of the what-if.  Fear of the what-if-not.  Fear of the can’t.  Fear of success.  Fear of unsuccess.  Fear of the past, present, and sometimes, even the future.

Fear.  It truly is crippling, isn’t it?

The funny part about Elsa is that, only a short while after running away to “freedom”, she found out that she really wasn’t free at all.  When she fled, she left a wake of destruction.  Her hometown was covered in ice and snow.  Her people were freezing and starving.  When told to come back and fix the problem, she refused (out of fear), stating she didn’t know how.  She only knew fear and fear was her enemy.

In the end, she almost killed her sister because of her powers…because she allowed fear to take control.  The only way to break the negative impact of her powers was “true love”…of course, because it’s Disney, right?  But instead of a magical “true-love’s kiss”, only an act of true love was required.  Even though Anna was dying, she used her last ounce of strength to save Elsa’s life…the action of true love.

John 15:13 (NIV)
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

In that moment, the sum of Elsa’s fears stopped.  In that moment, the swirling snow stopped.  The howling winds stopped.  Everyone just stopped.  And Elsa wept.  Her worst fear had come to fruition.  She thought Anna had died.  Only in her burden of grief and despair, in the absence of fear, did Anna slowly begin to breathe, and the world around them slowly began to thaw, because “only an act of true love could thaw a frozen heart“.

1 John 4:18 (Msg)
There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear.

When our focus shifts to be on Him alone, the author of “well-formed love”, there simply is no room for fear.  Focusing on Him creates that distance where everything else, the little matters of life, and sometimes even the big ones, become a lot more clear.  “It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small, and the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all.”

Philippians 4:13 (Msg)
Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

Granted, there are times when my anxiety will take over, or should I say, fear?  But acknowledging the fear and asking God for His help to take a stand against it, can make a powerful and impactful difference in one’s life.  So that’s precisely what I did.  Even on a “low-processing” day, shortly after having the stomach flu, I was determined that fear was not going to have the upper hand in my life on that particular day.  I decided to pack up the kids, drive into the city, while it was snowing, and pick up an order from the bookstore – a task I had put off accomplishing for days…due to fear.  But, I did it!  And the kids may have screamed at each other for a bit in the back seat, and the snow may have been blowing across the highway, and my son may have had another disastrous diarrhea diaper in the bookstore, and I may have even met my husband for lunch (around naptime), and my son may even have had a massive meltdown when I went to order my lunch, and I may have encountered the stares of fellow patrons, and I may have had to take him outside the restaurant for a stern “talking-to”, and I may have had a crappy lunch when it finally did arrive, and I may have had cranky kids on the way home.  But, I did it. (Insert sigh of relief and slight smile)  I acknowledged my fear.  I took a stand against it, and I would say, for the most part anyway, I kept my cool.  It wasn’t easy.  It wasn’t even enjoyable.  But it was an absolute refusal to allow fear to control my life.  And it was only possible with (my daily dosage of medication, and) a full reliance and focus on Him.  The results were amazing.  My attitude and even my general, daily anxiety had changed for the remainder of that day.  I was happier, more content, more confident, more fully alive.

Anxiety will take it’s toll on me again, I’m sure, and because it is a mental health disorder, there will be days where I will feel completely incapable of controlling the fears that drive my anxiety.  And on those days, I might have to stay home.  But you can be sure that the next day will be met with sheer determination from the moment I awake, to acknowledge the fear, to put my foot down, and take control of it, because my focus will be on Him.  And if you find yourself ever in need of a little help in that area, be sure to crank Brad’s song and get praising the Lord.  It will change your focus from fear to instead, the Perfect Love, Who casts out all fear.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

Because He lives…I can face tomorrow.  Because He lives…all fear is gone.  Because I know He holds the future.  And life is worth the living, just because He lives.

Today, I Realized I Was Old

This morning, I came across the following poem I wrote only one year ago today.  As I found encouragement in it once again for myself, I felt, perhaps, it could serve the same purpose for others.


Today, I Realized I Was Old

Today, I realized I was old
It was graduation day
Education all behind
The future was bright before me
It was time to settle down
A career meant I was grown

Today, I realized I was old
It was wedding day
Youth was complete
A marriage was just the beginning
Didn’t this mean I was now mature
Betrothal meant it was time to adult

Today, I realized I was old
It was birth day
Sleep was gone
A parent was now my name
I quickly found out how little I knew
Parenthood took me by surprise

Today, I realized I was old
It was grief day
A child of a friend was lost
Grieving reminded me of how short life really is
Younger death reminded me of my age
Grief made me age

Today, I realized I was old
It was Saturday
Young children asked me to play
Technology and work had made me tired
All energy was gone
Why couldn’t I engage

Today, I realized I was old
It was graduation day
My children had grown
New careers were starting
How young they seemed
A reminder of my youth

Today, I realized I was old
It was wedding day
Their youth was ending
A marriage was just the beginning
Didn’t this mean they were mature
Betrothal of children meant
I had to be old

Today, I realized I was old
It was birth day
A time of enjoyment
Grandparenting – a new start
A time to play and spoil
But, oh! I was getting old

Today, I realized I was old
It was retirement day
A time to celebrate
A career all done
Coffee cup in hand with nowhere to be
I was feeling old

Today, I realized I was old
It was chemo day
A difficult journey ahead
But I had been through much already
An IV in my vein
I was ready to be young again

Today, I realized I was old
It was death day
A tearful goodbye from all I was leaving
But when eternity opened before me
I saw my life
And realized just how young I had always been

Author:  Isaak, Rebecca – 2016