Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: YOUTH (04/04/19)
- TITLE: Young at Heart
By Robin Newberger
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"Say the word play.
Here I was, seated in a soundproof room, no bigger than an oversized telephone booth. Headphones press against my ears, just tight enough to be bothersome. Surveying my temporary confinement, I make a mental note of the dark-gray and maroon patchwork of Styrofoam lining the walls around me. Mildly disturbing, I close my eyes.
“Say the word cool.”
More words. Separated by a small window, the audiologist feeds me more words to repeat. I get them all correct. Excellent! Maybe I’m not hard of hearing after all.
Lately, I have trouble hearing clearly if the person speaking is too far away. I’ve lost count at how many times I say “What?” in a day. A recent ear procedure hasn't yielded the outcome the doctor and I were hoping for. I can hear, but things are terribly muffled, and have been for months now. My private lament is that I’m too young to be struggling with my hearing. This recent setback with my hearing, a few more noticeable aches and pains, subtle changes in the face in the mirror, all this and more, brings one thing into sharp focus: The days of my youth are behind me. I never envisioned myself at 51 with a hearing loss. Truthfully, though, I never envisioned myself at 51, period.
I’m a skilled procrastinator, so in my 49th year, I began to mentally prepare myself for my next birthday. I was then steadily moving towards “the big five-oh,” our cultural dividing point between youth and maturity. I was soon going to be considered by some as “over the hill.” I barely saw it coming. And then, there it was, and I was over it.
A Daughter of Eve, I struggle against the effects of time. The curse of sin is now a visible one. The face in the mirror looking back at me is mine, but it’s showing signs of time. The gray hairs are coming in faster than I can dial my hairdresser. Young women walk past me at the mall, vibrant, energetic, and I forget for a moment that I’m 20 years their senior. I still feel 20 years their junior.
Our culture does not embrace aging well. Especially women aging well. We are assailed on all fronts with social messages that youthfulness is king, and growing older should be avoided at all cost. Anti-aging serums and supplements is a multimillion dollar industry, selling a lie that we can turn back the hands of time. I guard my heart against deceit prettied up as truth, deceit that can gradually and insidiously erode my confidence in God and His plan for my life — if I believe them.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 NIV
We were made to live forever. We have eternity in our hearts. We are under a curse of sin and death, and our hearts know it very well. It was not in the original plan.
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 NIV
The wisps of smoke were still dissipating in the air from the “4” and “9” candles on my birthday cake as I thought ahead. I avowed that with God’s help, His grace, and His wisdom, I would arrive at the door of my 50th birthday with joy, not lament. And I wouldn’t knock. I would throw it wide open, inviting myself in.
And, with not a lot of fanfare, my “year of jubilee” came and went. Then 51. All along this hilly journey I’m learning what matters, like the things I can take hold of that won’t degrade, and what things God is loosening my grip on because they are corruptible and fleeing. I was made for eternity.
“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring Word of God.” 1 Peter 1:23 NIV
“Say the word eternity.”
Yes, Lord. I hear You loud and clear.
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