I just turned 64, but I’m not asking what the Beatles asked: “Will you still need me? Will you still feed me, when I’m 64?” I am asking something else.
It started when I hit 40. That day I went for a walk on the loop of our gravel road, my husband and our kids. I had just started to color my hair, which was greying around my face. When I was eighty, I decided, I would go shopping in a purple jogging suit. I would wear bright red lipstick until I died. I would be kind and generous but feisty and wear whatever I like.
When I turned 50, my husband threw me a party. A houseful of friends came for lunch. Ten years older than me, Sue gave me the best present of all: “I loved my fifties. It was the best decade ever.” Our mothers and fathers died suddenly. I scattered stones. I mourned. I wondered how to live with such losses.
Then I turned 60. My sons and then my daughter got married. I spent my days locked in closets wrestling with God, writing books. I traveled. I taught. I wore bright lipstick every day, even to the gym, where I tortured my muscles and felt glad to be alive.
At 64 now, I am working harder with more joy. I no longer feel alone. I have people who come alongside me and beloved learners all over the globe. I’m a grandmother twice over, soon three. Even when I feel unworthy and inadequate, I no longer let that stop me from doing everything God puts in my heart.
But I know that someday I will lay it all down. I will arrive where the writer of Ecclesiastes arrives at the end of the book in chapter 12:3, at the door of the house of the bent old woman looking through the windows—seeing dimly. Soon, my “dust will return to the earth,” and my “spirit will return to God who gave it.”
I’m closer now to that house than I’ve ever been before. We all are. We’re standing on the porch before that cracked door. I don’t want to be afraid. Because the one who has filled my empty cup every day of my 64 years, he’ll still be there. Listen to what Isaiah says:
“I will be your God throughout your lifetime— until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” (Is. 46:4)
Dear ones, please don’t resist Him any longer. Let him carry you—all the way through that door.
*For deeper reflection, listen to Isaiah 46 today.