looking ahead

Using Up All My Birthdays

I was driving through the city today when my four-year-old asked me why “that lady” was on the street. I couldn’t see anyone and was focused on making a left turn but I wished I had seen her when I heard the next comment. My little passenger announced in a casual tone that the woman “looked like she used all her birthdays.”

So… I have a few questions. For starters, the obvious: what exactly does someone a four-year-old describes as “used all their birthdays” look like? I assume it was an elderly person. Was that someone who has used every day to its fullest potential and enjoyed each minute? Or do they give the impression that life has been cruel and harsh and they’ve long outlived their “best by” date?

Knowing my daughter as I do, I assumed the impression she had was not a particularly positive one.

Which has caused me to wonder what it must be like to be the person who has “used all their birthdays.” What kind of person is this; is it one I would want to be? Somehow I think not!

While a four-year-old may or may not be able to pick up on subtle differences between various elderly folk just from a quick look as we are passing by, I know that there are many times a child can pick up subtleties that the rest of us overlook.

Perhaps these tiny (at first glance) differences are more remarkable than we imagine. Maybe they are showing us what a life well-lived really looks like.

I know I want to be the kind of senior some day who has put a lot of life into my years and has used my birthdays well.

Perhaps the wrinkles will be laugh lines instead of worry lines.

Perhaps the white hair framing my aged head will be a halo of wisdom instead of a wreath born of stress.

Though my earthly eyesight may be dim, perhaps my heavenly eyesight will be greatly improved.

Though my physical steps may be slow, perhaps my spiritual ones will be quicker than ever.

While I may not hear well anymore, perhaps my spiritual ears will be attuned to the sounds I really need to hear.

I’m moving into the coming days with renewed passion to make these kind of things more than just a “perhaps”; if I’m faithful today in the small things, they can be my reality someday when I’m old so that I can confidently say I have used each and every single birthday and used it well!


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