When asked my age, I'll admit it. To shave off years would change my life entirely. For which years would I eliminate?
The year as a child with rheumatic fever when I spent three months lying in bed only to recover and suffer the torment of my classmates for wearing ugly, orthopedic shoes?
That was the year I learned who my real friends were, beauty is only skin deep, and I could rely on my sense of humor when life gets hard.
Or how about the year as an adolescent when I was fat and awkward and felt I would never fit in with the rest of the crowd? That was the year I tried out for the school play--just to “show them”--and got the lead part.
Would it be my year as a teen watching a friend die from leukemia? That was the year I thought about eternal things and gave my life to the One who created me.
Perhaps the year I first fell in love?
How about the year I was divorced and felt that I had nothing left to live for? That was the year I leaned on my parents and friends for support--a year of new beginnings.
Or maybe the year I met my husband and learned to laugh again?
Perhaps the year a little bundle of life named Ariel made me a mother and I became anchored to life in a way I never had before?
Could it be the year we filed bankruptcy, sold our home to satisfy our business debts, and I felt like throwing myself off a cliff? That was the year I learned I could survive one of my worst nightmares.
Maybe the year we discovered our infertility and we were left to deal with the death of a dream? That was the year I learned even when life doesn't go my way, I can still choose to have faith.
Perhaps the year our family was baptized and we embarked together on the path of the ancient Christian faith? That was the year I knew God was not finished with me yet.
What about the year I was diagnosed with cancer and suffered the indignities of surgeries, chemo, radiation, and baldness? That was the year I learned how precious my life was and how much every friend and loved one meant to me.
Would it be the year I became a grandma and discovered a new kind of love that took my breath away?
Maybe the year that Mom got dementia and I became less her child and more her parent? That was the year of crushing sadness and learning to find joy in simply being together and holding her hand.
Or the year my second precious grandchild was born and my heart expanded even more--more than I ever knew it could?
Which years would I eliminate?
No . . . I think I'll admit each one of my 60 years. For added up, they've made me who I am today.