17 May

“The years like great black oxen tread the world, and God, the herdsman goads them on behind, and I am broken by their passing feet.”  ~ William Butler Yeats

When I was young, I couldn’t wait to get old.  Wait a minute.  Let me clarify that point.  When I was young, I also thought that anyone over eighteen was old.  There’s a vast difference between eighteen and ninety-eight!

Age had always intrigued me.  One of the reasons I believe it did was because of my grandmother.  I was so blessed to have her in my life until 1992, nine years after my ordination to the priesthood.  At the time of her death, she was 102.  I watched her age and it always marveled me.  She had more wrinkles than a pug by the time of her death.  She also shrank several inches in her life.  But her faith and her wit were always intact.

She had struggles as well.  A myriad of health problems cropped up at different stages in her life.  Some were easy to manage and others were more difficult.  Age, in many ways, broke her with its passing feet, just as Yeats stated.

Today’s quote really strikes a chord with me because my love-hate relationship with age is just as real as Yeats’.  I always wanted to be older but not so much now.  I wouldn’t mind aging if it didn’t come with so many “accessories” like arthritis, weaker vision, and other health issues.

But you know what?  There’s no stopping it.  “The years like great black oxen tread the world.”  Their feet stomp where they may.  We can do nothing to stop it or, sometimes, even to manage it.  I guess the best we can do is accept it with grace and carry on to the best of our abilities knowing that God will always help us in our need.

Besides, as I have heard so often throughout my life, as bad as we think we have it, there are so many who have it much worse.  Instead of grousing about our own condition, it might be better to pray for those who need prayer more than we do.

FAITH ACTION:  Pray for those whom age has not been kind, that they receive the assistance that they need in order to retain their dignity.