I’m sixty today, and maybe a tad reflective.
I’ve graduated. I’m officially a senior citizen. The Canadian government will send me money every month just for staying alive (and because I paid into the Canada Pension Plan, but doesn’t “just for staying alive” have a cool ring to it?). I’ve reached an age beyond that of both of my mothers. This morning, I’m exhaling just a little bit.
Milestones like this cause one to reflect on life purpose, but I think I’ve got that one figured out: glorify God and enjoy Him. That’s more than enough to keep me occupied for whatever days remain for me here on this earth.
I spent time at the beginning of this year drafting a personal Rule (or Rhythm) of Life, and choosing a focus word that might be the last one I ever choose because it’s multi-faceted and all-encompassing (it’s WORD). These, intended as guides to glorifying and enjoying.
I don’t make resolutions or set goals. Honestly, I think that if I could just get a handle on how to love that would be enough. Just two things: love God and love my neighbour as myself. I try, but on too many days I fail—before my feet hit the floor, some days. I rely on the mercy of my Creator, trusting that he grants me grace in my failure and opportunity to try again.
Sometimes, I recite the Shema in my mind when I feel the blanket of not-love fall over me. Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord is one. Listen, Linda, to this one most important thing that the Creator, the one God, asks of you. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and mind, and soul, and strength. All encompassing. With every single thing you’ve got. Living and active.
I’m not completely sure what the loving God part looks like practically, but I keep trying to figure it out. I’m maybe marginally closer now than I was a decade ago. It’s two steps forward and one step back mostly, but it all flows from the amazing love I caught a glimpse of along the way. That, and some precious and personal gifts: the sweetness, Augustine referred to it as. It keeps me going when things get dark.
Then there’s the addendum that God’s only begotten added: And love your neighbour as yourself. There’s nothing more important than these two things, I’m told. But, that neighbour part? Yeah, that’s my Achilles heel.
Because people. They cut you off in traffic, they have different opinions about all manner of things, they want to zig when I want to zag, and too often my first response is not love.
If I could just get a handle on what it means to love God and love people, and do it consistently, I would come to the end of my days relatively satisfied that I had done what I was called to do— that maybe I’d hear “well done” when I finally make it home.
I keep trying, and falling, and getting up again; leaning in hard to the wisdom of my Creator; remembering that faith, expressing itself through love, is the only thing that counts; and that there is nothing more important than love.
That’s the view from sixty.