Somehow sixty sounds a lot older than fifty-something. People who are 60-something are senior citizens. Young seniors, but definitely senior. I have already outlived those members of my mother's family who died in their fifties. The longest any of them lived was 78. My dad died that young as well. My health is already precarious and genetics indicate I have less than two decades left to live. Which is a short time. But if I spend all of that time in a nursing home, the years stretch an impossibly long time ahead.
I am suffering a depression that is part midlife crisis and part end of life regrets.
There is a sign in the nursing home that reads, "A hundred years from now, it won't matter what kind of car I drove or where I lived, but the difference I made in other peoples' lives."
Mentally I add to the list, "how many books I wrote."
Midlife crisis? I had big dreams as a young adult; and I'm smart enough to be able to get the answers right, at least on paper. I demanded perfection of myself and my life has been a long lesson in my lack of perfection. So, I have to accept the fact that there are certain things I will never get to do.
And an end of life accounting--have I made a difference in anyone's life? Well, I know I have. I have not only taught children in my church, I have written curriculum used with thousands of children. I have not written only for myself, but I have been blessed to have books published, books purchased by enough people for them to take a second and third and so on chance with me. Thousands of people have read my devotionals (http://mydailynibble.blogspot.com/) this year and almost 30,000 people have read this blog over the years. Hopefully my words have done more than entertain.
For that matter, I even touch people I know primarily through Facebook say that I encourage them. My birthday greetings from relative strangers called me dear, sweet,precious, beautiful.
I get to train another generation of writers through online classes and I have had a part in leading a few people to the Lord. And even in those dearest to me, my precious son and his family, God has seen fit to continue the essence of me. I see myself in my son's writing and his commitment to the Lord. I see the child I might have been apart from abuse in my granddaughter's sunny disposition and ready laugh.
So I have had an impact. Of a sort. I suppose.
So the question becomes--what do I have left to look forward to? I feel isolated. Little hope of change. Precious little joy or purpose.
But this one thing I know: God has me here, at this time and in this place, for a reason. If that reason includes daily pain and sleeplessness--so it does. He will comfort and speak to me in the pain, and He will use it to help others as well.
So after feeling bummed all day long on my birthday, today I feel hopeful that I will feel joy and hope again. Maybe not today. Maybe not even tomorrow. But the sun will shine again, and I can say, in the words of the song by Casting Crowns:
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
by Bernie Herms