Life at 52: Finally Playing With A Full Deck


So, I turned 52 a little while ago, Visitors, and I couldn’t be happier.

When I was younger, I thought that the fifties would be some sort of gateway into senior citizenship. As if five decades carried some sort of identity card that gave me street cred, and I could lord it over those younger than me.  (Oh, wait, what about that red AARP card?  How did they know my birthday, anyway? Creepy.)

Hilarious.

Hilarious.

Instead, I find it cause for meditation and action.  One of my favorite Star Trek characters once said “Recently, I have become aware there are fewer days ahead than there are behind.” (TNG, Picard, for you purists.) Well said. In our fifties, this is likely the case.

Since Chris died, I have been acutely conscious of the fact that time is more valuable than gold. It’s funny, if you’ve walked with someone to their death, perspective changes on all sorts of things. When Chris was fighting his battle, the cancer establishment that surrounded me often concentrated on achieving ‘more birthdays’, ‘more events’, ‘more time together’. I grew to appreciate that idea then, and treasure it even more now.

I was discussing this type of thing with a new friend the other day. He’s about the same age, and we were sharing stories of how we had gotten to where we are.

I  listened to my friend’s meditative  inventory.  He listed to me all the things that were going right in his life, all the reasons he had to be thankful. I realized that at this age, I do that all the time myself. Kids doing well? Check. Dad all right? Check. Roof overhead, food on the table? Check. No looming disasters of impending doom barreling down the tracks at me? Not today, thank God.

See, Visitors, Jesus said that there are some things we will always have with us. The poor. Troubles. Trials. Oddly, we are to ‘consider them pure joy’ because these things produce endurance and maturity in us. In James 1, we are told that this will make us ‘mature and complete’ lacking in nothing. Yah, I guess I can see that.

I grow so tired sometimes though, of Christians who preach that we are somehow entitled to abundance of any kind. In the midst of the past few years of suffering, I have grown weary of the idea that we are somehow entitled to ANYTHING at all. The Apostle Paul says we are to owe nothing, except a debt of love to each other. (Romans 13) Matthew 25 says that when we are kind to people with less, it is as if we are being kind to the King of Heaven.

So, perhaps we are entitled to kindness from our brothers and sisters.  Imagine with me, if you will, Visitors. What if we actually did share with those who have less, as if we were sharing with Jesus? What if we lived debt-free, except for the ‘debt of love’ owed each other, that Paul talks about in the book of Romans? Hmm. What a wonderful world that would be.

In the mean time, I reflect on my own worldliness. I’ve gotten beat up since Chris, my mom, and everyone had the nerve to die on me. This is true. My list of ‘wrongs suffered’ is pretty long. Really, though, in these smooth sailing times, it’s a lot easier to see that God actually does heap blessing up on blessing to us undeserving Christians. I’d like to see that more clearly in the midst of the storm.

That’s a prayer for myself. Clarity.  Also, to be more willing to share. Share more, share better, give for no reason other then we are asked to do so. Our heavenly Father loves us, and we love Him, and he asks us to do this. Share our money, share our  time, be the kind of Christ in the flesh that Jesus would want us to be.

Share too, of our maturity. Visitors, those of us who have endured great loss, do you ever feel like this? Princess Louisa, a child of the king. Her battle for clarity, purity, servant to her people, all have left marks on her body and scars on her face.

What's next, for my people?

What’s next, for my people?

Or the weariness of Donal O’Sullivan, the last prince of Ireland, preparing his people for a losing siege against the merciless British?

Weariness can overtake.

Weariness can overtake.

Our suffering has given us gifts. (I never, ever thought I would say that.) We are marked, to be sure. Some of our marks are permanent, and hard to view. Hard as it is to believe, people look to us after suffering. People look to us for reassurance, for succor, for guidance. We’ve been where they are. We understand. Let’s lead our people with our endurance, maturity and grace.

Much love,

Victoria

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Life at 52: Finally Playing With A Full Deck

  1. So lovely. This was beautiful to read, Victoria. I enjoy your writing when you walk hand and hand with Jesus!

    Sadly, I have let go of the hope of kindness from fellow brothers and sisters years ago. I have found that the kindness from Jesus is neverending and unfailing but from man…not so much. You are the product of a loving family, church, community and husband. All of those elements have always brought deep pain and/or abuse into my life.

    Several years ago, Jesus and I had to get real in our relationship. I was not going to receive the love I dreamed of from any human in this world but I could decide to *BE* the love I wish I had. I made a deal with Jesus at that point: I would keep my heart soft and show the love to others I wished I could see in the world — or even have for myself — but He had to be the one to protect my heart.

    Life continually gets worse (and the abuses bigger) but I give my hurts to Jesus — sometimes through a veil of heavy tears or with teeth clenched in anger. If I let Him fill my heart with the beauty *He* sees in other people, I can love on those people better. If I hold onto any unforgiveness in my heart, it destroys me. I work hard to let things go.

    Somehow, Jesus keeps me standing on firm ground. Every day, He helps me to keep loving on the people in my life who arrogantly hurt me over and over again (all the while telling me how much I deserve it). Frankly, it is what it is so I am not complaining but I do marvel at the daily mercies God gives me in the midst of it all. I, too, have found that gratitude is indeed everything. God is ALWAYS good!!! ♡

    Btw, I’m so old that I don’t enjoy TNG. (Picard, though, …*ahem*… is another story — but he is no Spock! Just sayin’.)

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    • “Elle” ! It is indeed a pleasure to hear from you again.
      It breaks my heart to hear of consistent unkindness from those around you. Sadly, I hear this more often than I hear stories of kindness and grace.
      As the years go by, I have learned, too, that Jesus and our Heavenly Father are the only consistent sources of graciousness I can count on.
      Regarding Star Trek, I think, that I am OLDER than you, dear girl! I went to a ComicCon recently and actually got a picture with dear old Uncle Bill Shatner himself! And yes, Jean-Luc is no Spock!
      Someday I would very much love to hear how your special loved one is faring.
      Warm regards,
      Victoria

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  2. Ok, you are a *little* bit older, this is true! 😉 My best friend is a year older than you and it has been a gift from God. Our children are different ages and because her daughter has been away at college when I need help the most right now, she has been able to be there for me when I have had no one else. I joke that she keeps me alive. Once again, proof that God always good!!!

    Back to the suffering topic, the moment I made the decision to love and let Jesus take care of my heart *fully* happened about 17 years ago. I had always tried to show my mother love from Jesus through the years even though she would always hurt me back. 17 years ago, we had finally reached a point of peace…and then 4 of her dogs attacked my precious sweet best friend kitty. My kitty of 9 years died in my arms as I was sitting next to my mom. When my baby died, I am not sure who took her from my arms but I remember being so full of despair that I stumbled a few feet and then dropped to my knees as I screamed out loudly in anguish. I knew what I had to decide at that point. The debt of pain from my mother was finally way too high for me to carry alone. I had to decide when I least felt like it to forgive her or it would destroy all the love I had worked so hard on with Jesus most of my life to keep showing.

    I made the decision to forgive and let go — completely. A year later, my mom even said to me in a conversation we were casually having that only *one* of her dogs killed my cat. When I corrected her and told her that I had to pull off *four* dogs that were knawing on my baby, my mom said trauma messes up people’s minds at times and, no, there was only *one* dog. I looked at her calmly (while silently seething inside) and said, “We will have to agree to disagree on this.” And I let it drop. Forever. I learned at that moment so clearly that true love really DOES comes from God. I cannot manufacture that type of forgiveness or love within my own heart.

    Your comment about not being guaranteed abundance from God is so true. I am in a situation right now where some people hurt me so badly 3 years ago with a bunch of lies that I am currently holding the wreckage of something far worse than a murdered kitty in my arms…but…God has asked me to stand up in the middle of another group of angry people and support those very people who hurt me and could CARE LESS about me. In fact, I am certain that many of those past “friends” will side with the current angry group and hurt me further. Oh well. I have come to learn that while God does not promise us an easy path or a life of abundance because we love Him, He does promise us HIMSELF. In the end, even if we have nothing, if we have Jesus, we really do have everything. I think that is where the blessings from sufferings become most evident. We still cry from the pain we feel at times but we can truly feel we are NEVER alone. It is in those moments — those moments that we cannot convey to others because it must be felt by them in their own lives — that Jesus is indeed VERY REAL. The closest thing we can do to give even a glimpse to someone else of the very realness of God is to love on people **outrageously** …even when they hurt us in the most crushing ways possible and then tell us we deserve the pain they inflict on us. I see why people look forward to heaven now! After close to 50 years of this, I am tired! 🙂

    I was so wordy. Sorry about that. (Contemplating suffering does that to someone.) Congratulations on Victoria’s graduation!!!!!! I cried when I pictured Jesus and Chris hugging each other in Heaven in joyous celebration over her!! ❤ She did good!! 🙂

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