Me and This Old House
Her Spirit was as Young as Mine
I was out one evening with a friend of mine, Irmgard, who was visiting from the mainland. She was 92 years of age. We had decided to go to a movie at the theater; a romantic comedy.
In one of the scenes, the character playing the beau who was courting the young woman said something that prompted me to chuckle. I can’t remember exactly what it was, but it was a sweet romantic scene. To my surprise, Irmgard caught the meaning of the sentiment before I did. She had actually laughed a moment before I did. She had grasped the implication and the sweetness of the portrayed situation before I had.
That was my epiphany on this subject of not aging. I realized Irmgard’s spirit was as young as mine. And this is my tribute to a lady I often think about, one who taught me much without ever trying.
We do not age. We might have learned this through our spiritual upbringing when we were 20 or 40 years younger, but the words or concept might not have sunk in. We cannot fully learn and understand this truth until we are on our way, gliding along past the chronological milestones of life.
Irmgard had traveled to Hawaii with her husband every year for almost 30 years. The first time I met Irmgard, she was a widow -- 83 years young. She continued to visit the islands every year, staying a full month each time in the same hotel she and her husband had stayed in. She was able to reserve the same room, year after year, by booking ten or eleven months in advance.
She and I had so much fun together when she came -- walking, talking, dining and spending time with my grandchildren. But the last year that she came to the islands, she discovered that a new manager of the hotel had given her carefully reserved room to someone else. By that time, she had been a returning guest for more than 40 years.
Irmgard felt very let down by that one gesture of a new and insensitive manager of the hotel.
The next year, I visited her in Victoria, British Columbia. She was a gracious hostess, so thoughtful and always young at heart.
Irmgard had a crisp German accent, self-confidence, love for everyone and a healthy curiosity about what comes after this earthly life for us mortals. She didn’t like looking old. She knew she was young.
The years have gone by. Sometimes I’ve caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror when I’m not expecting it and, startled, I think, “Wow, that’s me.” But then I shrug because I know I wouldn’t have it any other way. My family, my experiences, my memories – I wouldn’t trade my time on earth for anything.
Have you ever seen an old, neglected house and wondered how did it ever get so weathered and broken? Or did you, in fact, see an old house and immediately think of the beauty and the joy of family and friends the old house once held? Did you picture the prettily scented flower vines which once climbed the porch? Did you imagine the variety of flowers in the owner’s garden? Did you think of the love and happiness perpetuated within the walls of the structure -- year after year -- and the young children playing securely in the yard of the ever-watching house?
Yesterday I saw many blossoms – all at different stages of life -- which brought all this to mind.
I thank our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, for the friendships I have with very elderly people because I’ll be there soon myself – to that stage. One might have a weathered face or a bone structure that is weak, and yet can have a perfect faith and hope in a bright future beyond this veil.
I chuckled with my 82-year-old mom yesterday as she rose haltingly from her kitchen chair and walked slowly to the livingroom. She said to my Dad, "Look at me, George! I'm walking like an 82 year old and I'm only 28."
‘For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face:
Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.’
(Holy Bible, King James Version,
1 Corinthians 13:12)
© 2012 Pamela Dapples