As I sit in my recliner each night, my mind wanders back to those years when my body would generally do what I told it. I enjoyed those years when opposing softball teams would say “good wheels” rather than asking if I needed a courtesy runner should, by some miracle, I reach first base. When I hit a golf ball, I had trouble seeing it land because of how far the ball traveled rather than due to my bi-focal challenged vision. As I ponder what use to be, I usually am snapped back to reality by one of life’s little challenges.
For most of us, one of life’s simplest daily assignments is putting on two socks each morning. Not one, but two. You don’t even need to worry whether right or left. Just get the color right and cross your leg over your knee and pop it on nice and straight and you’re good to go. Somewhere between here and my youth, I lost the ability to accomplish this task with both of my feet. My right foot works as it always did, but for some reason, I can only get my left sock on by bending over a bit too far for comfort and risking serious back injury. Some mornings the effort becomes almost a throw, in which case the sock rarely lines up the way it should. I am not quite sure when this change happened, but it has become quite the morning worry point. Keep this eventuality in mind when choosing your next bed. Some day you, too, may need to be able bend over and essentially touch the floor to put on the second of your two socks.
Combing my full head of hair each morning was always a fairly mindless activity. Line the part up in the same place as you have for decades and the comb would push all those little follicles into just the right place. Unfortunately, at some point in the process, hair starts to disappear in areas where it once was quite welcome. It almost seems for each hair lost aloft, that one appears in the nose, on the ear, or the middle of the forehead at lengths the hairs on top only dream about. Now, instead of the quick morning run through with the comb, it has become a comb over and a search for hairs in embarrassing places.
Another daily activity most of us handle multiple times each day involves the flow of fluids. When you are young, this activity rarely involves a midnight run. However, at some point in time, we find ourselves asking, “Why would God create an organ which would keep growing well into old age?” The conflict this phenomenon creates with the other organs in an old man’s body drives a most unwelcome trot to the facilities each night. There seems to be no stopping this rebellious organ.
Vision is another constant reminder that things are not what they use to be. I have had bad vision for as long as I can remember. In fact, I tried to cheat on the vision test in sixth grade. While waiting in line near the eye chart, I did my best to memorize the letters on the 20/20 line. Little did I know they would decide to swap out the charts when my chance came to read the alphabet. Whoops, so much for that idea. Soon, thereafter, I was on my way to the Optometrist. Somewhere around 40, what had been generally a minor inconvenience became a full blown “What do I do now?” It was at this age that my favorite eye doctor told me bifocals were my next upgrade. Wonderful; old people glasses. Now, while working in the church library, books on the lower shelves require the no glasses, down on all fours approach; top shelf –head tilted back in hopes of hitting the up close lens. Great, another easy task gone awry.
Each day brings challenges which were never even a passing thought in the teen years. Maybe this is one of God’s ways of expanding our day’s activities and helping us fill in the time void left by the empty bedrooms. If so, it seems to be working.