I’m at an age where my brain thinks I’m 20, can do anything and I act and can pitch a ‘hissy fit’ like I’m 5. At the end of the day (4 pm) I feel like I’m 90. I’m going to be 65 next March and there’s a lot of wear and tear on this old body. Sometimes, I am astonished at how tired and worn it looks. You know what I mean – jowls that hang like dangling earrings, bags around my eyes that beg to be popped, loose skin that hangs like its melted. My arms have bat wings which I tell the grand kids are angel wings which they, too, will earn as they get to the age of wisdom. I sport wrinkles that have a crepe paper like texture that moves like Jell-O as I walk. I have enough scars on my body to have named them after each of the major Florida highways. I am serious. I am a far cry from those young days when I looked like Sofia Loren. I thought I would never age and certainly not like I have.
And yet, here I am.
Yes, Here I am!
I remind myself how amazing to have survived breast cancer and a clogged heart, both of which could have taken me out of this world much like my father and mother before me – too early. Frankly I didn’t think I’d make it.
Yet here I am. Perhaps for nothing more than to show that medical mayhem is surmountable. Maybe my story can help those who face days when the pain, the weight and fear of illness, and the exhaustion of learning, fighting, and remaining faithful to the Lord seems too burdensome to pursue. Yes, it’s tough. Yes, those of us in the boxing arena of medical adversity get tired, frustrated, angry. But we are still here so that even in our darkest moments we can bear witness to what we can do and what people can see through our lives. And we allow others the ability to comfort us, to learn from us, to be the lifeline through which God works.
So I look at my body differently these days. Yes, do I wish I looked a little more like Jane Seymour and less like a 15 year old Shar-Pei. How does she do that? And while I could opt for plastic repair, the thought of the kind of extensive surgery it would take has me cowering in fear. I met a plastic surgeon at a cocktail party once who looked at me with such in depth interest that I was sure he was calculating how big of a winter estate in St. Tropez he could build if I would become his patient.
Folks, this body shows a life that has been fully engaged. From packing and moving to different parts of the world, playing racquetball and biking with my husband, daughter and friends, helping COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) patients with delivery of oxygen containers, playing dodgeball with my girl scout troop, to playing hide and seek with my grandchildren – it’s a life I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.
I wouldn’t change a thing. Those jowls, eye bags and wrinkles don’t show age but the myriad of smiles and laughter and even some tears, tender hugs, and painful lessons of growth. My I-4, Florida Turnpike, I-95, Sawgrass Expressway, I-10 scars don’t designate sickness but survival.
Yes, here I am. And as long as God calls on me to be his hands and feet on this earth, here I will stay. To love and grow old with my husband, spend time sharing and caring with my daughter, hug and play with my grandchildren, meeting and making good friends, and loving the nature that God puts on display each day to remind me that He love us.
Yes, here I am: wrinkled, scarred, saggy, and baggy, but humbled, happy and grateful to be alive and at His service.
Here I am, Lord.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Father of Compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3 (NIV)
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8 (NIV)
Thank you for reading my post. If you have found it encouraging please consider liking, commenting or sharing it. Feel free to comment here or even re-blog – may these words take flight!
I have additional insights I’d love to share with you found in the pages of my debut book: Surviving Medical Mayhem – Laughing When It Hurts. To order a copy or learn more go to my website at www.lorettaschoen.com
Blessings for Health & Wellness.