Many assume that reaching a new speed limit on the old road of life traumatizes people, but for me, the “eights” have been more transitional. Reflection surrounds this birthday, and not only because Mom experienced her first diabetic coma at this age.
Turning into a fifty-eight-year-old gives pause, because of my previous eights’ changes.
At: 8 months – The Air Force discharged Dad honorably, and soon I was dethroned from “only child” status.
8 years – I accepted the Lord as my personal Savior one evening after family devotions. Soon afterward, we moved from Colorado to a church Dad planted in Virginia. The culture shock of segregated schools only hinted at the coming decade’s volatility.
18 years – High school graduation and college matriculation ignited more drama than I have space or ego to specify.
28 years – I moved back to Colorado, leaving dreams, teaching and graduate school behind in Evansville, IN. A terrifying, but inspiring crisis of faith grew from those disappointments.
38 years – I was unexpectedly baptized in the Spirit — a radical experience for this Baptist kid. That expression of God’s overwhelming Love prepared me for something more radical: Mom’s death.
48 years – My technical training vocation ended and I transitioned into the most rewarding avocation: stay-at-home mommy.
Facing 58’s dawn, trepidation that only time can resolve clutters my mind. What will happen this decade? Who will be our next president? Will social security still exist when I am eligible? What will Dude and Dudette become when they grow up? Will the Broncos win the SuperBowl with Tim Tebow? Just how many carbs are in my birthday cherry cheesecake?
I sat in the closest chair, Grandma’s rocker, to distract myself by googling “famous 58 year olds.” Bad idea! Don’t attempt this without stronger sustenance than Diet Pepsi and a Snickers bar. Why? Because, as I scrolled through screen, after lonely, scary, depressing screen, filled with obituaries of 58-year-olds, my mood darkened.
I edited keywords and, gradually, accomplishments of others at fifty-eight appeared:
– Albert Einstein published “Moral Decay”.
– Carole Hobson, a British woman, gave birth to twins.
– Charles Anderson began an Appalachian Trail missionary trek called “journey of five-million steps”.
– Franz Joseph Haydn moved to London when he “decided he had more to learn.” He gained unimagined success.
– Terrance Gene Bollea (Hulk Hogan) entertained.
– James Monroe became the fifth president of the United States.
– John Steinbeck wrote “Travels with Charley: In Search of America” based on his 1960 road trip with his poodle, Charley.
– Kathie Lee Gifford, who graduated from Bowie (MD) High School with my late brother-in-law, Wayne Robey, wrote and produced "Saving Aimee”, the inspirational story of Aimee Semple McPherson.
– Ken Burns completed another well-researched historical documentary, “Prohibition.”
– Marian Anderson, the first black regular company member, debuted at the New York Metropolitan Opera as Ulrica in Guiseppe Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Machera”, The Masked Ball.
– Scottie McGregor (Mrs. Oleson), the woman we loved to hate, filmed season 9 of “Little House on the Prairie”.
– Pat Benatar, who went to Lindenhurst (NY) High School with dear Hugsband, released a Christmas album and novel about the 2nd coming of Christ.
– Paul McCartney, a year after being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, released “Wingspan: An Intimate Portrait,” a documentary with pictures by his late wife, Linda.
– Ruth Graham visited Poland’s’ Wall of Death at Auschwitz with her evangelist husband, Billy.
– Tim Allen began a new, hilarious television series, “Last Man Standing.”
– A Wolf Heintz’ arrangement of Martin Luther’s hymn written the previous year, Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam (To Jordan came the Christ our Lord) introduced the Reformation in Halle.
Actually, that’s pretty cool, huh? All these creative people contributed to society as 58-year-olds!
Mom’s declining health at this age no more predicts that I have only months to live, than Monroe’s inauguration foretells my impending move to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
I’ll take a deep breath, get out of Grandma’s 88-year-old rocking chair, and exercise before switching to veggies and antioxidant-rich white tea.
Until further notice and through as many speed limit changes as the Lord gives me, I’ll embrace the words of Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a FUTURE.”
P.S. My younger sister, Anne read this and told me I should start a blog. I suppose it's just coincidental that two months after my 58th birthday, to the day, she died from Lyme disease complications.