I’m still reveling in the takeaways from my trip to Philadelphia the end of last month. Even as I head back into a more normal routine, a few aspects of the trip are worth revisiting.
This one took me by surprise. I’ll give you a little visual. My friend and I were still learning names, and she was sharing something about someone from our larger tour group. “Now who was it again?” I asked. “The lady with the white hair and glasses,” she answered. “Wait a minute,” I said, “which one?”
We giggled a bit at the truth of it, but not meaning any disrespect. After all, we’re both right on the heels of white hair and glasses ourselves. While I’ve been glasses-free my whole life, this year, I started wearing readers every now and again. And there are definitely some white strands of hair peeking through that I may or may not add some color to every once in a while. My response was simply a statement. There WERE quite a few white-haired ladies on our tour, and some of them wore glasses.
But here’s the really cool thing about it. Those white-haired ladies? They were absolutely amazing. One shared at the beginning of the trip how she has faced death, along with many other trials. And yet, there she was at the airport with the rest of us, totally pumped up for the adventure, decked out in leopard-skin-patterned clothing. Maybe facing death had given her a fearless attitude? Maybe it was this once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the pope that had her hyped up? But I could see few signs of her age in her movements. She had a youthful, optimistic spirit.
Another of the white-haired gals was a photographer by trade, and like me, always rushing to the front of the line to get the best glimpse to communicate the experience to others later. And yet, she was doing this wearing a business suit and shoes that would have killed my feet. I honestly don’t know how she pulled it off, being on her feet for hours and hours several of the days there.
As I stretch toward age 50 (I turned 47 last month), I feel the limitations of my body, and at times, have wondered how much longer I’ll be able to take part in such adventures. My spirit is willing, but my aging body tends toward complaint. And yet, watching these women, some 25 or more years my senior, trucking it with the rest of us with few complaints really made me re-evaluate the possibilities.
It had to be grace, or adrenaline, or a mix of each, but it inspired me to no end. Not just on the first day, but every day of the trip they put me in my place, quelled any negativity I might have brought along, and made me realize that perhaps I am not as close to the end of my most active years as I had begun to think. Maybe, God willing, I will still be racing to the top of the pack when I am 75. Could it be possible? What an exciting thought to realize that my best years may be yet to come.
These white-haired ladies were my wake-up call. They proved to me that with God, all things are possible, and until He determines we’re finished, we ain’t finished. If He has something for us to do, He will give us whatever we need to accomplish it.
Not only that, but these women became precious to me. They were not only energetic beyond what seemed reasonable, they brought their stories and wisdom along and weren’t afraid to share each with us. They added tons of life and laughter to the trip that would not have been there otherwise. I am so grateful for their presence. I see myself in them a few years from now, and I am ever so glad for the glimpse.
The white-haired ladies, with and without glasses, on our Philly pilgrimage brought hope, courage and zeal to my heart in a way I wasn’t expecting, and I can’t thank them enough for being a living example to me of what we can do with God in our lives. I will be inspired by them, and following them at a hasty pace, for a long time to come.
“Hey you with the white hair and glasses, wait up, would you?”