by Barbara Sanders

Defining and refining the aging process has been an on-going process. Everyone has a handle on defining aging - wrinkles! That's what you hear first, when someone mentions growing old. Then, they mention losing the hearing, the memory, or your hair. Then comes the flab! Well, let's not go there. Too many of us are too well endowed to want to talk 'flab'.

Some people seem to defy the aging process, not so much in the wrinkles, but in the way they conduct themselves. Take the case of this wonderful, little old agile lady that comes to my beautician.

Ms.Dena Miss Dena, as we call her, will be ninety-eight, YES, ninety-eight years young, this fall. She is like a little bird, so tall, slender, and easy on her feet. She has just recently started using a small cane for added security. Security, meaning she doesn't want a broken bone, if she falls. One will never see this lady without seeing a smile. She always has a good word for everyone. And, she still lives by herself, as well as having a garden that she tends each year.

Miss Dena was a schoolteacher, by trade. Yet, she has lived more years after retirement than she taught. She started out in a one-room schoolhouse in the small community where she still lives, and later moved on to bigger and better things. But, she has great memories of that little schoolhouse, I am sure.

This lady is gracefully growing old. She drove a car until she was past ninety. And, as she says, she only gave it up then, because she wanted others to be safe. And, when she said that, she laughed, telling us that she gave up driving only to let another old lady drive her around. Now that is grace!

I call her 'young at heart', which makes her appear younger than her calendar years. It's remarkable to realize that she didn't wear a pair of jeans until she was around 75 years of age. And, then it was designer jeans! Now, that's young thinking. She started wearing jeans about the time my youngest child started elementary school.

When it comes to aging, Miss Dena has it over most of us today. We fuss and fume with wrinkles, and she's trying to remember to put her glasses on. We get tired of running ourselves crazy, trying to get some where on time, and she's only happy to be able to get there! She doesn't rush; she's spent her years getting to the place she is today - ninety- seven.

God's Grace has brought her through the years to the grace she has obtained. He has shown mercy with this beauty of grace that she has going for her. Maybe she can't run as fast as a youth, or perhaps throw a basketball. Perhaps she isn't as fast on her feet as we are, but she has life on a string. She knows the Creator, and realizes life may be short for her. But, she has truly risen to almost a century of aging gracefully. She has played the gamut, and come up the winner - a lifetime of joy, a life that was worth living, and measured with love for her fellow man. This truly is AGING WITH GRACE!

Written ©April 1, 2001 by Barbara Sanders, AL. All rights reserved.


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