Three years into retirement and I think I’m beginning to get the hang of this new life. I’ve managed to set up a few new routines —make the bed every morning, walk the neighborhood trail before it gets hot, take the trash and recycling out on Thursday mornings. But along the way I’ve noticed some new, unexpected realities.
Recently our pastor spoke on one of the seven great I Am statements from Jesus in the New Testament. Pastor Brian mentioned how, if we aren’t careful, our view of God can become a little fuzzy over time, to the point where we might need an adjustment to our vision, or perhaps a new pair of glasses to help us see more clearly.
Which all got me to thinking about some other changes in my life recently that have seemingly crept up slowly, catching me unaware.
In the fall of 2017 as I was getting ready to retire at the end of that year, I went in for my yearly vision check up. Nothing new, I go in every year about the same time and generally end up with a new prescription to my glasses, all is good. That year my doctor had sobering advice and I ended up getting scheduled for cataract surgery. After a brief recovery period, I had to admit that I hadn’t really noticed how bad my vision had gotten, but I was happy about the vast improvement the new lenses provided.
In a similar storyline, in late 2019 I consulted an orthopedic surgeon regarding my increasing knee pain and in February of 2020, just before the pandemic closed everything down, I had knee replacement surgery. Recovery took quite a bit longer than I had expected but physical therapy made a great difference in my ability to get up and down our stairs more comfortably than before. It’s been a welcome holding effort on what looks to be a general downhill trajectory.
We recently had houseguests staying with us for several days. One of the new additions to the husband’s daily routine was to put in his new ears, a high tech hearing aid designed to help filter and amplify the myriad of sounds in our lives. I was curious because I’ve been experiencing what could possibly be considered “slight” hearing difficulties. Yet, like him, I considered myself too young to be needing a hearing aid.
With the encouragement of my wife and the recommendation of friends, I finally made an appointment to have my hearing tested. The last time I had been tested was during my service in the Army over thirty years ago; a lot can change during that time! My brooding anxiety was quickly dispelled during the test, though the small room with its “dead” acoustics made me a bit dizzy. I was relieved when the testing was completed and excited to see the results of what I expected to be a normal graph of my ears and their ability to distinguish between tones and recognize spoken words.
Well, it seems I am a candidate for some type of assisted-hearing device. I was actually shocked to see how much my hearing had dropped from the normal range, but the technician’s explanations made perfect sense once I thought about it. I’m still wrestling with the whole episode and there are a few appointments still to be made. More than anything, it has been hard reconciling some of the effects of getting older with how I perceive myself. But I have a guide to help me process some of what’s occurring, and likely to occur health-wise in the future.
The Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians and recorded for us in the New Testament, describes our situation. “So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.“ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, The Message
Encouraging words, though I may be falling apart on the outside, yet daily God is renewing me to be more like Him. I’m sure I‘ll find more things that need attention before we get across the finish line. But then again, these bodies weren’t meant to last forever. But a day is coming!