I have this new thing. It doesn’t happen every day, but it happens quite a bit. When I wake up in the morning, my mind wakes up, mostly, but my body doesn’t want to cooperate. My body just wants to lay there and think about it for a while. Well. As much as it can think without my mind. This can go on for quite a while. A few times, I’ve forced myself to get out of bed anyway, and stumbled around the room like a zombie. It’s not pretty. It’s like being drugged.
The medical journals call this “Sleep Paralysis.” Apparently I’m “hypnopompic.” Isn’t that quaint? It’s when your body tries to wake up while still under the influence of the chemical your brain produces to keep you from moving while you sleep. This is what keeps most of us from punching someone out when we’re dreaming about being Jackie Chan.
What? You don’t dream about being Jackie Chan?
But, anyway, this chemical isn’t being properly whatever whatever... My body chemistry is whacked. Big surprise.
For years I’ve heard elderly people talk as if their bodies were strangers. Older women talking about their hands, but not saying, “my hands,” anymore. Instead, they refer to them as "they." “They just don’t work like they used to.” “They hurt me a lot.” As if some delinquents in the neighborhood are coming into her house while she’s sleeping and doing these things to her. And old men talking about their feet as if they’re a bad neighbor who they can’t get to act right. “They just won’t leave me alone.” “They bother me night and day.”
This creeps me out because I’m starting to move into that neighborhood. Every year the list of what’s “wrong” with me gets longer. It’s not that I’m old. I’m not. Honest. Really. Seriously.
AND NOW, A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR...
Anyhyoo. I’m not old. But I’m definitely not young anymore either. And things just don’t work like they used to. The plumbing, as they say, is starting to get a bit leaky. And it's made me think about one of the most famous kings in all of history who was also named David. It’s said that, “He died at a good old age, having enjoyed long life...” The key being “enjoyed.”
I was visiting people at a retirement home a few years back and there was this woman I spent some time talking to who wasn’t “enjoying” long life. Everyone she loved had died except for her son who never came to see her. She was mad at God for keeping her alive. To be honest, it was a bit intimidating, so I just listened. That’s something I can usually do without making too many mistakes.
If I get to live that long, which I often doubt, here’s how I envision my old age. I know this is a bunch of hoo hah. But let me dream for a minute...
I imagine being surrounded by grand-kids. My wife and I spoil them, enjoy playing with them, get them all wired up on sugar and caffeine and then send them home to terrorize our grown children. We will laugh gleefully when they pull out of the driveway. They’ll call us in an hour or two and say, “What did you do to our kids,” and we’ll just say, “Why? They were great when they were here!”
I imagine having more time to think about eternal things. Perhaps I’ll come up with a theory of everything, but then I’ll forget it before I remember to tell anyone about it. Perhaps I’ll resolve the perceived “conflict” between God’s sovereignty and the responsibility of man and then refuse to tell the theologians. Perhaps I’ll finally understand . . . things.
I imagine having some uninterrupted time to spend with my wife and friends. My kids will be my best friends. And their kids. And maybe theirs! (Let’s go for broke.) We’ll play, I don’t know, chess or checkers on the wii while listening to music that makes the grand-kids beg us to turn it off.
While we’re not playing wii checkers, my wife and I will just go out of town for no reason and eat at restaurants only old people like. I’ll actually get to sit with her in church. We’ll feed the poor and visit the sick without looking at our watches.
You never know.
All of this, of course, depends on my body not falling apart first. The spirit is willing, but...
Peace to you.
© LW Publishing 2010