I have often said with authority that old is something you appear to others but not something you experience yourself. My body has been remarkable healthy and strong. In my mind, I still wondered what I would do when I grew up. These past weeks, however, I not only look old to others, I also feel old myself.
On my recent hiking trip on the Camino, I found that was demanding to me but a walk in the park for my 30 year old, 6’6” traveling companion. I found that he was always waiting for me. He would usually walk ahead and then stand and wait until I caught up. He was patient but I wondered if he felt like he wished he was walking with someone that could keep his pace.
Every place we went we would need to reprogram my I-phone with a new user name and password. After struggling I would simply hand him the phone and say, “thank you.” He would press several places on the screen with lightning speed and give it back to me working.
We decided to take the Metro in downtown Madrid. He went to the ticket dispenser, scanned the route, and changed the language to English; our transportation for the day was established. When we approached our next metro stop, he would look at me and I would recognize the summons in his eyes.
It always took me longer to get ready for anything. I couldn’t open the plastic wrapped utensils. The buttons on my roll-up sleeve shirts seemed bigger than the button holes. I am clumsy.
After day five, I can’t bear weight on my knee. How can this be? My knee has never hurt.
On hot days, perspiration drips from my head. I knew I was dehydrating because I was drinking bottles of water and never stopping for a bathroom.
All of these experiences were new to me.
I welcomed the gentle hands that removed my backpack and hoisted it into the overhead rack.
What is this experience teaching me? It is probably that my future will include a season of dependence.
I have been introduced.
I will be more compassionate for those I walk alongside who struggle.
I will ask God what He wants to prepare me for.
Do you “feel” old or only look old to others?