I spent the day yesterday with friends enjoying the beautiful weather. One of my friends just had his knee replaced and is walking very gingerly. I reflected on how getting older isn’t always very easy. On the contrary, it seems to involve gradually replacing “parts,” slowing down a bit and thinking about how to live a productive life as we grow older. It’s a reality we all must face, especially those who are caring for elderly parents. Be very careful how you respond to elders for you will most likely find yourself in the same situation one day.
Jesus tells Peter that as a young man he can come and go as he pleases, but when he grows older, he will lose this ability and will be compelled to go where he might not want to go. Jesus was hinting at Peter’s death of martyrdom. Jesus' words really hit me as I thought about my friend wobbling down the streets, feeling pain in the knee.
Most of us fear getting old because we sense that our independence may be slowly taken away from us. Putting my dad in a nursing home as he neared 90 was horrible. He had to go where he did not want to go. He really had no choice since our resources were very limited and it’s just my sister and me. Deep down my father did not want to become a burden and he surrendered to his situation, giving him much inner peace.
Life isn’t easy, especially as the years take their toll but we are called to accept life and its joys, as well as it’s limitations. No matter where we end up or how much independence has been compromised, our lives have meaning and purpose. It’s just not what we envision.
Letting go becomes a meaningful way of living.