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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Twilight Years of Life (07/02/09)

TITLE: Light In Latter Years
By Marilyn Reicks


Light In Latter Years

Twilight light fades into darkness. For me …light is more pronounced in the wisdom that comes with age. This stage of my life is the best of my entire lifespan.

I wake up, wriggle my toes, stretch my legs, and take deep breaths. I lay there a few minutes choosing ways to make my day worthwhile and enjoyable. I plan ways to enrich my day in spite of the plain truth that my bank account is low.

Last year, at seventy-six years of age, I did substitute teaching pre-kindergarten to senior high school subjects such as English, art, science and agriculture. Every day I told the students words of wisdom such as:

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff that life is made of.”—
Benjamin Franklin

Fervently I stressed, that it takes years to build a good reputation but a few seconds to tarnish one’s honor and respect. To live a good rewarding life, one must live righteously. It was thrilling and exciting when I could sense the young people grasping these eternals truths.

To find real happiness search not for greater wealth but for greater passions to live for. Enthusiasm for living can be found in maintaining meaningful relationships. Forget self, help the other person find pleasure whether it be working, playing a game, conversing, hiking…whatever. When you see the other person joyful and happy, you amazingly will discover your own spirits soaring to unexpected heights of jubilation.

Putting the other person first seems so contrary to human nature. Sometimes, it takes a lifetime to discover the truth that by making someone else happy, we find our own happiness.

Why do families take each other for granted? Why do members of close knit groups think they can say what they feel like, even if, it is mean and disrespectful? The older one gets, one knows relationships are more important than material possessions. With this realization comes the clarifying knowledge that a love for pretty teacups or antique cars is almost meaningless—they are lifeless things. Real love is for people who can respond with genuine warmth and feelings enfolding you.

All earthly lives will end sometime. The harsh shock that one is getting older could be depressing. Frequently, to think I am going to die, does no good.. Yes, the breath will leave us some day, but we do not have to die everyday. Life is for the living…so, live while you are living.

Minutes before he died, my father affirmed to his nurse, “God can take me anytime. I am ready to go.” Days later, I returned to the rest home to retrieve my father’s possessions. His nurse a former grade school student of mine, related to me my father’s strong beliefs and readiness to pass from this temporary home. My father’s last words give me the belief that I will be ready when my time arrives. In the meantime, I pray for a dynamic life of using the wisdom I continue to gather on what is really important. I pray that my life touches the lives of my family, friends and others with a love that is most precious in life.

My father, born in 1903, had only a grade school education. He had inborn intelligence and common sense that seems a rarity in this day. In the late 1930’s, he faced blistering cold winds to drive the team pulling the wagon over the snow on the way to a one room country school, while I snuggled warm under a horse blanket, plaid wool on one side and hairy horsehide on the other. His selflessness demonstrating his love for me left a deep meaningful memory forever etched on my consciousness.

As a young person, I lived in the country with no friend’s close by. Reading became a lifelong passion for which I am thankful. I learned knowledge about faith, health, far away places, self-improvement, government, and much more. Book knowledge keeps me sane when my world seems to be crumbling around me.

Everyone has their own struggles in life. Each phase of life has it trials and testings. Shakespeare in “As You Like It” stated:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players…”

This world is a test of our character. Live life productively. Be righteous, kind, and loving. I believe it is the only way to live until the twilight turns to darkness for my earthy existence.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jim McWhinnie 07/09/09
Such a thoughtful "Desiderata" that I am going to print out and mount on the wall of my study.

Heartfelt writing from the heart to the heart. Well done, well done, indeed.
Charla Diehl 07/15/09
Lots of words to live by in this piece--almost sounds like a sermon.