Moving quickly toward the precipice of adding another year to my age has me reflecting on what it means to celebrate a birthday. I have not always appreciated when my birthday rolled around. But as I creep up on yet another decade milestone in just over a year, I am reminded that each and every year is significant, and a gift from God.
I have attended and helped to plan birthday parties of women who successfully embrace life and celebrate each and every opportunity to gather friends and loved ones together. I want to seek the same attitude. The best attitude about aging I learned from a friend named Florence who was given a surprise birthday party on the event of her 80th birthday. (Thankfully Florence had no heart or health issues!!) She entered the door with the utmost grace, was genuinely surprised and truly excited. She warmly embraced every single person that had come. The best part was that she was grateful so many friends and family had come to celebrate with her and she exuded giddy enthusiasm about the occasion. Florence viewed every year given to her as a gift from God. She also shared with me that she knew that if she was still here, that God still had amazing things left for her to do.
Florence loved everything that happened, from the surprise of the party, all the people that attended, to the food planned, the cake made, and most especially the gifts she was given! As she opened her gifts, Florence had the best time sharing about her attachment with each person and what they have meant to her. What a gift to each of us as well!
Who can argue with that mindset? Women are constantly targeted for all of the anti-aging creams and cosmetic procedures, and hair coloring etc. As if a woman’s worth is only determined by how well we can fight the aging process and chase the fountain of youth. But we don’t have to give in to the great marketing machine that only places value on youth. We can embrace those tiny laugh lines around the corner of our eyes, because they represent great laughter shared with good friends. We can tie a bow in our graying hair, because genetics has given us striped hair and it’s a part of how we were made. We can stretch out those limbs that creak and be glad for the ability to still get up and accomplish things each day.
Anita Renfroe says this “Age is a gift from the hand of God. Any measure of health to enjoy your age is a gift from God. The memories you’ve made along the way are precious and priceless. Thank God for every year he’s given you.” Amen.
“Listen to me, house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:3-4 TNIV