These two words are nightmare terms for us as we age. We try to make them funny. I have a mug that says, “I think I may be confused but maybe I am not.” And then I have a key chain attached to an 8 x 10 plastic mat imprinted with “These are the keys I haven’t lost yet.”
Confusion and forgetfulness have become such dreaded companions to aging that we think they are the price to be paid for a long life. I was reminded recently that we, who see faith through aging eyes, do not have exclusive rights to these two experiences.
I was invited to speak to a group of young mothers. One mother was there with what looked like a big scarf draped around her neck. As I looked closer it was actually a sling that held a six-day-old baby. Other mothers came pushing a stroller or holding a toddler on one hip while balancing a plate of muffins and fruit. What surprised me most was how confused and forgetful most of them seemed to be. They asked what group they had been in last week because they couldn’t remember. The instructions for the morning schedule had to be repeated in order to be understood. The attempt to give directions for finding a room was so unsuccessful that one of the leaders said, “I will just lead you there.”
No one in the young Mom’s group seemed to be concerned about this forgetfulness and confusion. I think they would have labeled their experience “life.” Why is it not simply “life” for those of us who are aging?