My knees hurt. So does my upper back, my knuckles, and my right hip. The pain ranges from a dull background-type of ache to raging, burning agony, depending on the weather and the amount of sleep I've had, whether I've been eating too many refined carbs or have been drinking enough water. When I talk to my doctor about the pain, she shrugs and says, "arthritis." I'm sure she's right, but ouch...what a depressing thought. In my vocabulary, arthritis equals OLD.
My birthday is rapidly approaching, and when it comes, the singular comfort of being able to say that I'm still in my thirties is flying out the window. I will turn forty this year, and the approach of that milestone has me thinking about a lot of things, not the least of which is how far behind I seem to be. I often find myself humming that Pink Floyd song, Time, specifically the lines "and then one day you find ten years have got behind you; no one told you when to run. You missed the starting gun." That's how I feel - as though somehow, the race started when I wasn't paying attention, and now all the other runners are out of sight and I'm limping along with a stitch in my side, favoring my arthritic knees, and wondering how in the world I'm going to catch up. I have spent the last decade thinking this way, lamenting the fact that life has largely passed during the time of my deep disengagement, and that I've missed so many important things.
Until now, anyway. Because now, for the first time ever, I feel as if my feet are on the right path. I am open to what God is calling me to do, and there is nothing standing in my way. I am surrounded by people who encourage and uplift me. I expect that there will be many hurdles and pitfalls, but the path itself is the right one. Maybe all the waiting, wondering what I'm supposed to do with my life, trying this and that and never quite fitting in was all a part of the road that has led me to this time of my life. Maybe I was always supposed to take a different path.
In January of this year, in the entry Falling, I said that my journey had taken a turn into the deepest, wildest part of the wood. I imagined myself standing in the dim, grey forest, waiting as the sky lowered and snow began to fall. Now I feel as if the winter of my heart is beginning to pass, and the promise of spring is finally evident. I am ready for warmth, for life, for growth. I am ready.