Today Anna, Will, and I went Christmas caroling at a nursing home with our playgroup. We sang some songs, handed out glittery star ornaments we made last week, and wished everyone a Merry Christmas. It was nice. Will really enjoyed handing out the stars to people. One of the elderly ladies commented with a smile that her son’s hair was the same color as Will’s when he was little, and it gave me a different perspective, a glimpse into who she is. For an instant I didn’t see her as an elderly woman at a nursing home, but as a mom about my age, chasing after her young “cotton-head” son, laughing and snuggling him, doing her best to balance all the aspects of her life. She used to be like me. It was a sweet privilege to gain this insight during our brief encounter. Sometimes we forget when people age and life takes its toll on their bodies and/or minds, that they’re still them inside… the heart, if you will, is the same. My mom, for example, is 70 and has multiple sclerosis, which plays on her mind sometimes and has led her to a wheelchair. In some ways she’s so different from the vibrant, strong woman I remember raising me, but inside she has the same heart; she is the same person.
Back at the nursing home, time flashed forward and I thought – look at what we become. Sure there are people who live active, independent lives right up to the end, but the reality is we all know where we’re headed. We won’t always be as strong as we are now, or as capable, or as independent. No use in worrying over the future, but let’s make the most of the present. Live well. Love deeply. Follow your dreams. Take the chance.