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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Expect (07/11/13)

TITLE: Twilight Years
By Leola Ogle


We laugh until tears gather in our eyes, the men in one room and the women in another. Our camaraderie is pleasant, comfortable, as only long-time friends can experience. Memories of bygone days fill us like whispers of delightful secrets, times when our bodies were youthful and full of energy. Now the only youthful thing is our memories.

We say we should get together more often, and we intend to, want to, but we won’t. So we relish this afternoon together, the Sunday lunch making us feel tired and sleepy. We joke about how in our youth, we’d poke light-hearted fun at the elderly who dozed in church. Now we have become them.

It makes us sad to think of the possibility the younger generation views us with mirth. We have built churches while raising our families, gone without to further the gospel, sacrificed to see God’s work advanced – in days without state-of-the art technology. We taught from flannel boards, sang from hymnals, our sermon material came not from the internet but was birthed in our spirit, and we prayed until the glory fell.

The younger generation doesn’t recognize us. Only a few remember us. We flounder in our uselessness. Some part of our identity has been stripped away by the ravages of age, by the fact we’re no longer needed, no longer viewed as an asset to ministry. We can’t do what we used to do. In our eyes, we have aged gracefully. We still dress in our Sunday best, our hair is coifed, our nails polished, and we accessorize to perfection.

We discuss what our expectations were when we were young and full of dreams. We admit we never expected the winter of our life to be like this. We still have hopes and dreams, but most of the time, our bodies refuse to cooperate.

Life has been good. Mostly good! Not always good. But we choose to reminisce about the pleasant things, of family and friends who have gone before us, waiting now on that heavenly shore. We expect a grand reunion in heaven, although we laughingly say we’re not anxious to leave yet. Sometimes in the exhaustion of our frailty, we dream of home, want it, are anxious for it, but we’re happy to awaken another day.

I am the youngest in the group. I close my eyes and wonder what I’ll be like ten years from now, fifteen years from now. I feel sadness like an ache in my bones, or perhaps the ache is just age. Whatever the case, my eyes flutter open as someone cackles, “She fell asleep.” I laugh, not bothering to correct them. It is acceptable to doze off in the middle of conversation, so why tell them otherwise.

In our memories, we are still young, full of life and vigor, reaching for the stars, expecting wonderful things from the fruit of our labors. It was all about serving God and people, especially during times when an adequate salary wasn’t always promised, or if promised, it wasn’t always there. We did it for love of people, for love of God. We expected to be loved and appreciated, but it wasn’t always so. Sometimes people threw it back in our face, sometimes with vengeance and malice. Often it came from those we’d helped the most. We tucked away our hurts and disappointments behind our Sunday smiles.

I wander into the other room. The men are sharing stories of the churches they built, literally and physically built – not with hired contractors – with the sweat of their brow, and the ache of their back, with volunteers from the church and community. And as they talk, the glint in their eyes is that of the young men they once were – strong, vibrant, passionate for God and people and life.

I know they would do it all again, as would we, the wives standing behind our men. Times have changed, knowledge and technology have advanced. We are reduced to moaning about our aches and pains, to reminisce of years of yore.

It was grand, it was glorious, to be young with our journey stretching before us – a path full of noble dreams, desires, and expectations. Now, in the twilight of our years, we remember, our sighs resonating like the chords of a harp’s strings. We are content.

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This article has been read 404 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Colin Swann07/23/13
A very well written interesting story. Reminding us life is fleeting and to expect to be eventually viewed how we once view others. Thanks!
C D Swanson 07/24/13
This was a poignant and reflective piece filled with honesty and resonating truth in every word.

I love how you view your life, not with regrets, but in a healthy "life review" style.

I was nodding my head in recognition of the "sermons" from years ago...no computers, straight from the Bible until the Spirit fell. And, people dressed up, and were respectful to one another. Times have changed, and sometimes, "not for the better."

I smiled because just last week a group of "young girls" arrived in short-shorts with flip-flops, and tee shirts. I didn't watch them, but each time my eyes flickered over the crowd, they were texting andd chatting." All I thought about was, when I was a teenager...I sat completely quiet in worship, and was reverant to God. But, times change.

Thanks for this informative introspective of your life and today...

God bless~
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/25/13
Congratulations on placing with this very interesting story of looking back at earlier expectations and achievements.
C D Swanson 07/25/13
Leola - so happy for you. Congratulations!!!

God bless~
Nancy Bucca07/25/13
Nice work. Congrats on your 3rd place EC.
Tracy Nunes 07/25/13
Leola, this is beautiful and sad at the same time. Made my heart ache. A good reminder to cherish our days. Congratulations!
Bea Edwards 07/25/13
Oh this was a simply spectacular look into my soon to be around the corner Golden years. Thank you and congratulations!
Noel Mitaxa 07/25/13
Warmth and gratitude flows throughout this piece, which could easily have slipped into regrets about the changes that have inveigled themselves into our society. Congrats on your placing.
Carolyn Ancell07/25/13
A truly sensitive and beautiful piece. Congratulations!
Francy Judge 07/28/13
Congratulations! This describes the later years of life in such a beautiful way--I'd like to feel the same contentment and peace, looking back at a life spent serving the Lord.
Judith Gayle Smith07/28/13
Thank you for writing about this old gal. I turned seventy in June and totally identify with your MC. Loved this. Thank you.

Hugs, Judi

Praise YHWH. Hebrews 10:26-31, Revelation 12:17