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Past that age


GETTING TO 50 was the pits.

The body enters the Age of Pain – the blood pressure shoots up, the head spins, the fingers stiffen, the knee joints creak, the back aches, and it takes longer and harder to get out of bed – irreversibly rushing into an Era of Don’ts, when all the sweetness, the salt, and the spice of life become a forbidden lot.

As though these were not enough a painful infliction, there is yet the most insufferable of all – the quenching of the fire that once ran amuck in one’s loins.

Sans Pfizer’s petrifier, sex at 50 starts becoming mostly a matter of gender, least of lust.

Here though, that biblical passage of the willing spirit, readily giving in to weak flesh assumes a different dimension, if not a higher meaning. Far from, aye, the very opposite of what it has been interpreted to convey – of the frailties of the human body rampaging over any sanctified wish, benevolent intention, noble goal.

Here, it is the grace of spirit that trumps and triumphs over weak, worldly flesh.

Something of an epiphany when I turned 50: with the ebbing of bodily strength, the keenness in matters of the spirit – not necessarily translating to religious revival – suddenly inhered in me.

My daily walk at the village green, transformed from an exhausting physical exercise to an ecstatic spiritual experience, indeed become a joyous occasion for worship.

The rays of the early morning sun, the canopy of trees, the singing birds perched on their branches, the fluttering butterflies among the wild flowers, all living testaments to the goodness of my God. And for these and all other blessings, I thank you, Lord.
Songs stir the soul even more – mournful strains as those of Schindler’s List invariably draw – along with a torrent of tears – images of the least of God’s children, in the Sudan, in Somalia, in Syria. Sharing – albeit spiritually – their sufferings, solidarity with them in their sorrows, is an enrichment to the soul.
So, is it not written, “As ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”?

Weddings become more than mere organized events for fellowship and food but actual partaking, a communion, in the celebration of love. Ah, how they make me cry, even when it’s not my kids, nephews and nieces being wedded. Copious tears of joy, For All We Know and Sunrise, Sunset always bring.
The fullness of love before the altar renews, refreshes all that is reposited in my heart, seeking an expression of its own through sharing, most especially with the unloved.

So, who was it who said: “The love in your heart was not put there to stay. Love isn’t love till you give it away”? As good a thought there on one’s birthday as on Valentine’s Day.
As in weddings, more so in funerals – tears. A sign of the cross, a tear or two for the loss, a short silent prayer for the repose of his/her soul at each encounter with a funeral procession. That I don’t even know the dead matters not. All that counts is a fellow human being having passed, and the hope that God judged him/her worthy of His kingdom.

Commencing at 50, the sense of one’s mortality has taken greater intensity and frequency in me as I turned 51, 52, 53…onto this, the last year before my euphemized “dual citizenship.”
More than the legacy I shall leave behind – neither much nor great, in the first place – it is that which I shall take along that concerns me. That which I shall present before the mercy and compassion of my God. For His judgment, I shall most surely fail. So, His forgiveness I most humbly plead.

Getting to 50 is the pits, in ways and means of the world.
On another plane, aptly named is 50 as the Golden Age – in which to pass through the crucible of spirituality to earn a rightful passage to the Diamond Age where celebrated the purity of the soul.

With the grace of God, how I long to come to that dazzling threshold.

WOW, this was published under the title Leaving the golden years on Feb. 11, 2013, my last year as a quinquagenarian. Ten years hence – with me now at the cusp of septuagenaria – it seems that time stood still through my 60s. Only the hair – more salt than pepper now – gives away the ravage of age. A good life, thank God. And yes, what a way to reflect this Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023.


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