on long, long life

Posted: September 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

I haven’t forgotten that I promised a part two on the problem of race.  I’m still muddling through how to do that (and asking myself, who really even cares what Karen Buchanan, middle aged white woman from rural Illinois, has to say about it anyway?!)  Meanwhile…

…a dear friend of mine passed away late last week.  Her residence and my employer were one in the same; I started working there a month before she moved in.  She was a woman of deep faith, great tenderness, earthy humor, and tireless compassion.  I adored her, and will miss her regular visits to my office. 

Going to her visitation was a strange experience for me.  I only ever knew her as an over-70 lady.  There on the photo board, I saw her younger days.  Though she had talked to me long and often about those days, I had never summoned any mental images to go with the stories.  It was somehow hard for me to reconcile the lady I knew with the lady in some of the photos.

All of that set me to thinking about my own life. 

I am 48 years old.  When I remember being 8 years old, it was so many lifetimes ago.  So many different homes, so many different jobs, so many different people, so many different priorities.  So many versions of my faith and my intellect.   I couldn’t begin to tell you how many iterations of Karen have passed between 8 and 48.  A LOT. 

Then, I try to imagine:  what if I live to be 88?  What if I live 40 MORE years? 

In my younger years, I supposed life was sort of a linear thing.  That I would become someone and then just be an ever-older version of that someone, as time passed by.  None of that turned out to be true.  That’s all well and good, looking back.  I learned at every point of the journey.  I grew – not always in the moment, but EVENTUALLY I grew from each change of life and circumstance.  God was there at every turn.  Every bit of pain also carried a treasure for me.  Oh, it’s FINE to look back at 40 years of perpetual and unceasing change.  It’s fine.

But 40 more?  Oh my.  The thought makes me tired.  Is it possible that the future holds as many dramatic shifts as the past?  I mean…that makes it full of great possibility.  But it also kind of makes me want to plant my feet.  Just say, this is who I am, this is where I am, this is what I do, this is what I believe, and ain’t nuthin’ budging, period. 

Of course that sounds (to me) like a perfect recipe for refusing growth, for spurning adventure, for rejecting the miraculous.  For getting the kind of “old” that isn’t the good things like depth and beauty and wisdom and security in one’s identity…but instead the kind of “old” that is spurning life and going rigid in the face of change. 

So I won’t do that. I just won’t.  I’ll risk weariness and heartbreak.  I’ll forsake the delusion of being “in control” that seems to bring such comfort to so many.  I’ll brace myself and trust God and live on the assumption that if He brings me to change, He’ll either bring me through change or He’ll take me on home.  Both are good developments, eh? 

I’d like to be missed as sorely, when it’s my turn to go home, as my dear friend is missed in my heart and in the hearts of so many others.  I’d like to matter – not necessarily on some big “world stage” scope, but in lives that matter to me.  The only way to get there is to embrace the journey, I reckon.

I’m pretty sure that when the Word says my God shall supply all my needs…that includes “courage.” 

He’s enough. 

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Comments
  1. Cindy Maynard says:

    Absolutely he is enough!! This really resonated with me. Lonnie & I often talk about our future in the mission field. We desire to grow and spend more time serving others. We find it amazing how God has grown in us a heart for this, both individually & as a couple. We often see so many people who simply won’t let God expand their horizons. I am sorry for these folks. I am sorry for the people who will miss out on what God has to show thru the “stuck folks”. (although I know God will raise up others who are willing and obedient to whatever He needs to get done–He won’t be held back 🙂 I know not everyone is cut out for everything, but I also know too many are stuck in their rut and not interested in growing with our Lord. I know you are someone who will allow the Lord to transform/grow you and I am certain you have and will touch many lives! You’ve touched mine!!

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