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A Coming of Age

(ROCKWALL, TX — May 7, 2018) I find myself coming of age… an age of doing things with a different mindset than when I was 40.  That’s hard for me.  I’m 71 now and need to begin thinking like one should when one is 71.  I’m not sure what that should look like since I’ve never been 71 before, but I’m going to try… because I’m forced to.

It seems that a two-step ladder in my closet used to reach my far-too-many pairs of shoes decided to take an unplanned tip to the southeast… with me on it.  My left leg decided to remain perpendicular to the floor while the remaining part of my body plummeted to a pile of beach towels that accompany me to swim class at the gym.  A peculiar angle was created at the juncture of my knee resulting in excruciating pain and a 5-minute bawling jag.

No one was at home at the time.  My husband was off at the Animal Control headquarters getting a cage to catch the possum that has been delighting himself on our garden fare, so I was alone in my misery.

Occasionally Nurse Lively has to lay down her stethoscope, name tag, and Taber’s Encyclopedia and become a real person.  Those moments don’t usually last long.  Forty years of nurse practice dies hard.

Therefore, the crying jag was definitely therapeutic, but short-lived.  I examined myself in my head first, dorsa-flexing my ankle, running my hands over my knee checking for bone fragments, finding none.  Deciding it was best to lay there quietly for a while, I calculated a plan.  Could I sit up?  Yes.  Could I bend both knees?  Yes.

Not wanting the great white possum killer to find me on the floor in the closet, I got to my knees, then to a standing position, even though light-headed.

Did I fail to tell you I was going to the doctor that afternoon for a pesky return of bronchitis?  Ugh!  What’s going on, Lord?  What are you trying to teach me, THE HARD WAY!!!!!  Why did you remove my angels for a brief moment, allowing me to tumble hard on the closet floor?

Do you find yourself asking that same question?  Why?  I don’t have any problem asking it, I just don’t always like the answer or lack thereof.  I know there are many theological answers to that question, none of which I can address, nor would I even try.

But I can give you my thoughts, some of which have been helpful after the pain has reduced and the coughing has been limited to the hour of sleep.

I must be reminded of my mortality.  I am but flesh that He has amazingly inhabited to bring Him glory.  Since He is God and I am not, I am willing to surrender to the occasional forced reconnaissance to the bedchamber, the steam bath, hospital room, doctor’s office or even Principal’s office.

The Father is far more interested in the outcome of the bawling jag than the primrose path of no-tipping step ladders.  He’s conforming me to His image.  Remember His physical image was marred and wounded.  It is by those stripes we are healed.  His surrender to the cross enables me to thank Him for difficult times, for pain, for unintended consequences on my part, intended by Him all along.

Thank you, Father, for bringing me through the Fall, and that fall.  I will be stronger when this heals because I’ve acknowledged my humanity, my mortality, my age, and the reminder that, “He who began a good work in me will perfect that work until the day of Jesus Christ”… tilting ladders and all.

That’s a good word.

By Paula Lively. Paula is a Volunteer Chaplain at Broadmoor Medical Lodge in Rockwall. She is a VERY retired RN who loves serving the residents at Broadmoor. She and her husband, Fred, have lived in Rockwall for 15 years.

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