I led a discussion on a book recently with a group that I am a member of. It is a small gathering of about 15 or 25 people with an average age of 75 or so (I am one of the youngsters). There is a lot of wisdom among these souls, wisdom that you gain from years and seasons of simply living and breathing.
The book we discussed was about life changes, disappointments and struggles, topics that effect each of us and doesn’t discriminate by age, race or gender. What you learn though, in a group that is more senior than yourself is that there are new challenges and decisions ahead of you, challenges that you were aware of but take on a different tone when you see them on the faces of the individuals in the midst of these storms. One group member’s husband is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, another husband is battling cancer for the third time and this one is more aggressive than the last two. One couple is moving to Florida at the end of the summer to be closer to their daughter. They are leaving their home of 50 years and moving to a state and city far away from their friends and church.
Hearing these stories created a somber mood during our discussion, a black cloud on the horizon for us 40 and 50 year olds. But as each story unfolded, as each journey was retold there was a sense of calm about the adventure they were embarking on, a grace, a peace and a thankfulness that they had made it this far.
I thought about these conversations later and honestly I was depressed at first but then I realized, this is how stories end. Our lives are not fairy tales. We don’t live in castles in the clouds, or kiss frogs who turn into princes, people who are alive, truly alive deal with changes, disappointments and struggles every day until the end. The difference in each of us is how we handle these adventures of life.
I am happy I have made it this far. I certainly hope there is more road ahead of me. I hope there are more changes, disappointments and struggles for me to breathe in as well because I will breathe them in deeply with grace, peace and thankfulness. Thankful for the opportunity to live my story, thankful for the chance to live my adventure.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”- Helen Keller