I had the privilege, yesterday, of helping celebrate a sweet senior friend’s birthday. Several of us took her to a cute restaurant, enjoyed too much pasta – a little cake, too! – and then had the treat of watching her open some gifts. Between every piece of tissue paper, she would get lost in a memory or a special thought and she would start to share. She would laugh and then she would cry sweet tears, and then laugh again. We laughed and cried right along with her. It was a special time. We continued to reminisce as I drove her home. After a deep breath, she told me, “I’ve had a very full life.” Yes, indeed, you have, my friend.
At 89, she has outlived all of her siblings. She has lived through the depression and other financial hardships. Before her husband passed away, together they fought his cancer and other serious health challenges. Not only is she widowed, but she has experienced the death of a grandchild (in a car accident) as well as her only child – her adult daughter. Life has not been without tears, challenges, heartaches and, no doubt, regrets. Yet, her life has been – and continues to be – full.
Through all of the valleys, God has proven Himself faithful and good. He has walked with her. Strengthened and encouraged her. So now, looking back, my friend can see the blessings, the joys, the many, many good days and years and is able to give thanks for a very full life. I pray when I get to my last few years – whether it is 79, 89 or 99 – I can look back, too, and see how God led me, walked with me and carried me when I needed it….creating a life of joy that overflows to those who celebrate with me.