Jenny Joseph’s poem Warning – When I am an Old Woman I shall wear Purple is a hymn to the unpredictability of the older person. It is both ridiculous and absurd, but I love it! Though I may not spend my money on “summer gloves and satin sandals”, it challenges me to live life to the full. Here is a short extract:
When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
and learn to spit……
It is true that ageing brings diminishment. A few years ago, I walked around the sand dunes in Tramore and back or ran up into the Comeragh mountains in the twinkling of an eye! Now, I am happy enough to walk up and down the promenade or take a short jaunt into town! The challenge is to be grateful for what is and not to bemoan the energetic days!
Appreciation often comes too late and is, in fact, one of the rich gifts of ageing. Yes, our movements are slower, but I now have time to “smell the roses”………appreciate the natural beauty all around me – a daisy struggling to survive through a crack in the pavement – a robin singing its heart out outside my window – the intricate designs on shells along the seashore – the laughter of children along the way …………………………….ah, yes, ageing has given me the gift of seeing all that I missed throughout the years.
We are called not to fold in on ourselves – on the contrary, we are called to live life to the full – to resist the temptation to opt out of life by avoiding risks and refusing opportunities to celebrate life because they upset our routine and our rigid timetables. So I am called to be more positive and more interested in the lives of those around me by showing them love. In return, they will be good to me in so far as I am alive and loving. Love is like a magnet! Nobody likes a grouch and only pure duty will motivate when self-absorption and negativity are a constant..
I want to live my days to the full as Jesus wishes for me: “ I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 – no matter what age I am or how I am. The Divine Artist is still busy shaping me and those around me.
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the fire was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half;
Trust God: see all, nor be afraid”.
B O’ S.