Here I am, practically 92, actually finding old age enjoyable--in some ways.  Yes, I look old.  I feel old.  I creak and limp and use a cane.  But there are two  things I really appreciate about advancing years: the VISTA and the PANORAMA.

THE VISTA:  (A mental view extending over a long period of time.)  I look at my children.  At this point, even  they look old, some are older than 60 and have the greying hair to prove it.  At this point they are pretty much who they are going to be.  Their strengths, their gifts have made themselves known.  Their skills are honed.  

They are settled in somewhere, somehow.   But still, still, I find myself getting to know some of them who live nearby. Others, the ones far away, I still yearn to know.  Their strengths I rejoice in.  I am delighted to learn they now know more about many things than I do and have valuable advice.  Their faults I pray about.  They are my children and I will never cease loving them.

My children have children who are already in young adulthood.  To my mind, they are still wet behind the ears.  They are learning, seeking, finding their way in this challenging world.  One is a farrier and a forger (the kind with an actual forge, not the kind in the counterfeit business!) One is a tattoo artist, one has a Ph.D., another is getting a P.A.  We have a nurse, an “activist,” a wanderer, a missionary. Some with jobs I don’t really understand.  I love to follow their lives on Facebook.  Some agree with my politics and religion.  Some heartily disagree.  I trust they know I love them regardless and pray they will find truth and love along the way.

Some of my grandchildren have children.  I never see my great-grandchildren since they live too far away.  Fortunately, thanks to Facebook I know what they look like and can watch them grow.  The youngest will be three on my birthday on July 11.

THE PANORAMA:  (An unobstructed and wide view of a scene or unfolding of events.)  So I sit at this pinnacle of age looking down the vista to the past and all around me at the panorama.  I’ve been around so long and grasped so little that I wonder if it will all ever make sense. Is it a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?  Here and there a person or an incident stand out as being key to a greater picture.  And though I think I catch a glimpse of an overall reason for it all, it is like seeing through a glass darkly, somewhat like looking at the underside of a tapestry and imagining the topside.

Early man looked about him and that was as far as he could see. Now television gave us a “window to the world.”  We wanted to go everywhere, see all cultures.  It’s all there – everything in the world – at the tips of our fingers, at the turn of a knob.  Add the Internet to that and it is more than enough–it is too much!  It is not humanly possible to grasp.  We need to find a way to winnow, to choose wisely, to find a way that makes sense, to sort things out.  For myself I look for people I judge to be both wise and good to lead me in the way to proceed.  It is all too difficult and I need help, especially from  God.

In days of yore the world just used to sit there quietly and you could survey it and slowly take it in. Nowadays it seems to rush at you at breakneck speed, one thing after another, with no time to absorb and reflect. At the end of the day when the TV is turned off and my iPad put away, I find it pleasant to untether my mind and just let it wander serenely where it will. As that wise philosopher Mortimer Adler said, we need to have idle time so that “things can occur to us.”

As the poet wrote, “the world is too much with us, late and soon; getting and spending we lay waste our powers, little we see in nature that is ours. We have given our hearts away….”

No wonder I find it soothing to watch the day-after-day unfolding of a flower, in real time, the old-fashioned way.  Enough with time-lapse photography! Let nature take is course.  Slowly. Slow down. Breathe. Think. Muse!

Have you ever just sat quietly and held hands with someone you love? I find it satisfying at my season of life to take time to hold hands with God’s universe--and with the living God.