Chris and I spent the evening at his father’s retirement home, enjoying an early Estonian Christmas dinner. Chris’ father is almost 95 years old and he seemed to enjoy his family around him. Every time we see him, he is noticeably weaker and more frail but he managed to smile tonight and his eyes shone when he recognized a familiar face or when all the ladies who work at the retirement home fussed over him.
I couldn’t help but stare at the man. He’s 40 years older than I am and I wondered, “what will I be like if I make it to 95?” As I get older, will I become wiser? Will I have developed a good character in my younger years so that when I get older, I am kind, appreciative and non demanding or will I be one of those old women who are eccentric, selfish and grouchy? I shuddered at the thought.
As I was sitting quietly, drinking my tea after dinner, Eva approached our table. I had never met this lady but I liked her immediately. She was wearing a purple vest that hung past her knees, her hair was cropped short and a funky purple and silver necklace adorned her neck. She initiated the conversation with, “I bet I’m the only 71 year old woman you know with a hearing aid and braces on my teeth at the same time, right?” She smiled and her teeth braces twinkled in the light. She told us about her orthodontist – brother who decided it was time for Eva to get her teeth straightened so she went for it.
“There are some people who look at me with their puzzled faces, wondering if I’m going through some weird teenage phase but I don’t care.”
This lady had spunk. She continued to talk about running her bed and breakfast for thirty four years and how wonderful it’s been for her to meet so many different people as they passed through her town and needed a place to stay for the night. Eva was full of stories and full of life. I found out later that she is married to my husband’s first Sunday school teacher in the Estonian church he attended “WAY back when” and I was mesmerized with her enthusiasm and genuine interest in everyone she met tonight.
Hm…she’s sixteen years older than I am and she’s going strong. Getting older seems to work for her. She’s not trying to stay young. “I’m not coloring my hair, trying to lose 30 pounds or having Botox injections in my lips. I know what’s important and what isn’t.”
Eva is growing older with grace, dignity, a wonderful sense of humor and a hope that is securely anchored in her Savior, Jesus Christ. What a wonderful place to be. She’s living vibrantly and triumphantly – her love of life is contagious.
The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been. Madeleine L’Engle