Last Sunday I shared my grief over the felling of an ash tree. As it turns out, the emerald ash borer is slowly killing them all.
I know the feeling. Age is boring into my bones. I’m sagging.
All my friends are getting old. One just turned 70. Another 90. When I was 30, people that age looked awfully old.
Someone once told me that anyone 20 years older than you looks old. At 20, 40 looks old. At 40, 60 looks old. At 60…well, you get the idea.
I’m 73. Anyone still alive doesn’t look old to me.
Peers I see regularly still look young. We’re like trains moving in the same direction on parallel tracks. Both are moving, but it doesn’t feel like it.
That has a certain comfort to it until you go to a class reunion.
A few years ago I walked into my 50th high school reunion and saw a classmate I hadn’t seen for years. Oh my God, what happened to you? I thought. (Don’t say it!) I bit my tongue. But the tongue is a rascally muscle. I blurted it out.
What do you mean what happened to me? retorted my old friend, staring at my wizened countenance.
Fortunately (or unfortunately), I’ve had a lot of practice with blunders like that. Many a time I’ve blurted out something that should not have been said. So over the years my tongue’s become like Jack—nimble and quick.
You look more beautiful than ever! I hastily replied.
And then I noticed that was actually true.
Beauty ages like fine wine.
Minutes later I was called to the microphone to give the invocation. When you’re the only minister in a class of 300, you’re stuck with that dubious honor.
(I didn’t know Randy became a minister! And to think I thought he was really cool back then!)
I dislike proforma prayers. I had none to offer. But I did have a blessing for all to recite with me, plus a freshly conceived idea.
Love before us, love behind, love under our feet.
Love within us, love over us, let all around us be love.
And then I asked everyone to turn to the person next to them and say: Oh my God, what happened to you? You’ve never looked more beautiful!
A ripple of hugs went round the room.
And that was really cool.
See Paula’s photo “Bittersweet and Lavender” on the home page. Posted Feb. 21