Catholic Journeyman

~by Louis Templeman

May 17, 2017: I think, maybe, I don’t mind getting old

The word drizzle comes to mind as I look through my glass front door. Quick little perpendicular, translucent lines of intensity making puddles on my deck and sending my cats under the car in the front yard. They are rain drops without wind. Just rain dripping from the sky by the steady tug of gravity.

Now it is coming down in buckets. Still no wind. The drizzle is becoming a downpour. Drizzle must refer to rain that is not copious, as well as not blown. There must be scores of terms to name the great variety of rainfall. Regardless of how it falls, or what it is called, it always has our attention. Too much, or just enough, or too little; it is always part of the conversation. Always a part of the process of making, and remaking the earth.

It is only 3:00 p.m. and it looks like nighttime; so deep is the cloud cover. The landscape appears gloomed in shadow. I feel gloomy in the shadows of old age – my health is changing – showing signs of aging -hearing loss and Parkinson’s tremors. I think, maybe, I don’t mind getting old. I just don’t want to feel bad as I do it. I don’t think I will regret dying, though I hope it is later rather than sooner. I just don’t want to hurt as I die.

Pain is what I fear. Inconvenience, incontinence, weakness, loss of memory and isolation are the things I dread. Like the rain. A sweet drizzle can be tolerated. Some rains are good to walk in. Nevertheless, deep gloominess and harsh winds are scary.

I am always impressed and, maybe, confused by the way many of the saints handled death and suffering. Some welcomed it. Some blessed the pain, if there was any. Most simply realized they were not in control and so, stepped up to the challenge. But, really, that’s something they did the whole of their lives. They did not shy away from hard choices, run from responsibility or engage in self-pity. They may have been afraid, but that conversation was borne of prayer, and confidences. What they did daily, all their lives, they continued to do on their last day.

I don’t recall any dread prior to my birth (I’m joking). Before I was born there was no fear of having a body, exploring the neighborhoods, or growing up in a family I did not choose. Had I known my brothers, however, I may have wanted a consult. The point is, birth just happened. It did happen, rather than didn’t happen. So, death and dying will be similar. I have no control in either event. In preparation for death I need to be like the saints of old. Love mercy. Love kindness. Enjoy surprises. Don’t be too hard on myself; take it easy. Trust in God. Make peace. I may now occasionally regret not making more money, traveling more or being more confident and serious about a writing career, but not on my death bed. Those things will be little more that pesky gnats I slapped away yesterday.

I want to walk in love, leave in love and – bless me, Lord – arrive in love. I will leave the beauty of this life with its drizzles and dark storms and sunshiny days and move on to the beauty of eternity. And, I hope I am not on pain meds or in some prescription haze as I do it. God is faithful.

“… let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” 1 Peter 3: 4

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”  Isaiah 52: 7

Death need not be bad news. I hope it will be like a gentle rain.

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Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D. Louis has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is fighting the good fight. Much of what he writes these days he is sharing his journey with us. Please keep Louis and his wife Joy in your prayers.

CLICK HERE to visit Louis’ Catholic Journeyman Archive

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