“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” ~ Satchel Paige
Had my mother lived, she would have become a centenarian today as she reached her 100th birthday. Birthdays were always special occasions for my mom. She always celebrated them largely and personally. On the large side, she always made sure that we had great gifts. On the personal side, she always allowed her “birthday boys” to choose the meal that she would make as well as the cake that she would bake.
Mom was a great cook and baker. She was known among the neighborhood as well as throughout the family for her cooking and baking skills. Everybody looked forward to Christmas because she always baked up a storm, often baking for two weeks solid to supply all the people she would gift. Birthdays were always special because of the personal touch as well. My birthday was always the same: kiszka and pumpkin pie instead of a cake. My dad rejoiced on my birthday because he was the only other person that loved kiszka.
Whenever mom celebrated her birthday, we would have her favorite meal. She made it as she wouldn’t allow us to do it for her. We had homemade pizza and chiffon cake. When asked how old she was, she would always say, “Oh, let me see. I was born in 1920, so, today I’m …”
I used to think that was her way of telling us that age didn’t really matter and that she knew how old she was. Later, I found that she was being honest. She had no idea what her age was and always had to figure it out. For the record, that is what I do as well. Whenever anyone asks me my age, I have to do the math because, if I give them a number off the top of my head, it will almost always be wrong.
“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” Satchel Paige sums that thought up best. Age is more a construct of the mind than of chronology. You know the old saying, “Age is all about mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.” It’s true. If we live day by day doing what we love to do, age has little to no relevance — that is, until we try to do something that we used to be able to do in our youth and find that our bodies do not want to cooperate with us any more.
The simple truth is that life is meant to be lived fully, not checking each day to see how old we are but plunging headlong into the gift of life granted to us each new day. Our faith lives are meant to be lived the same way. We need to jump into living the faith with joy and gusto. Doing so keeps us “young” in the faith. It gives us the energy to continue on. It helps us to share what we believe in a manner that excites and invigorates others.
Life is meant to be lived to the very last breath. At that moment, the first breath of eternity should be welcomed with joy and confidence. Then, we will no longer have to tell another soul that we meet how old we are. We will simply celebrate our existence with the Lord and our reunion with all of our loved ones. Happy Birthday, Mom.
FAITH ACTION: Take time today to cherish the living who are special to you as well as to pray for peace, rest, and joy for those who have departed from you.