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“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Getting old isn’t for wimps. Many of us take measures to prevent others from detecting our age. We are an obsessed nation living in a state of denial. I hear from old friends whose children I taught in Bible club fifteen years ago and I’m shocked to hear that those same children are married and have two kids.

Years ago I remember my mother making statements about women’s clothing, saying a certain style was “timeless” or “classic”. I now realize what she meant was “matronly”. Despite our advancing years, we try to dress in current fashions, but the new “baby doll” style that came out a year or so ago is a line I cannot cross. I’m sorry, but those things look like maternity tops to me, especially since I’m carrying around more pounds than I want to admit. Can you imagine what people would think seeing me with all my gray hair sporting a maternity top?

Some women I know color their hair. I used to but I had to schedule it on my calendar so I wouldn’t forget to do it. I schedule all sorts of things on my calendar because I know if I don’t, I’ll forget. Like making dinner. And speaking of forgetting…

When I was a young whippersnapper, I’d roll my eyes at the women who wandered aimlessly around the Walmart parking lot looking for their cars. How pathetic is that. You park the car, shop for an hour, and forget where you left the car? Really? That will NEVER happen to me! Or so I thought. I’ll never forget the first time it happened. There I was with my loaded cart, sending out a frantic GPS signal from my brain to my car, praying that God would honk the horn or something. I kept thinking, Those people are staring at me pushing this stupid cart in and out of the parking spaces, and they are all thinking how pathetic I am. What goes around comes around.

After that happened, I developed my own little secret plan. Every time I pull into the parking lot of some place that I frequent, I always park in the same row or at least in the same general area so I always know where my car is. I’ve maintained this practice for a few years now, and it has served me well. Until yesterday.

I went to the grocery store, and there weren’t any available parking spaces in the row where I generally park—Row 5. But there was one in Row 4 directly across from where I normally park. Close enough.

I was in the store for about a half hour. Upon exiting, I headed toward Row 5 like a homing pigeon, trotting down the row looking for my trusty Jarhead (my car’s name). Since Jarhead isn’t a large car, sometimes those big SUVs and vans conceal him. So I kept pushing my cart farther and farther until I was almost to the end of the row—you know, almost to the street! No Jarhead.

Somebody has stolen Jarhead! Had I remembered to lock him? Good heavens, why would anyone want to steal a 13-year-old car that has 176,000 miles on it?
Jarhead is easy to pick out in a crowded parking lot because of all the Marine Corps stuff he wears. I’ve often said I can spot a Marine Corps insignia at a thousand yards. But there was no doubt about it, Jarhead was MIA.

I turned around and started back toward the store, pushing the cart in and out of Row 5, thinking perhaps I’d parked on the OTHER side of Row 5. I know people had to be staring at me. After all, who pushes a loaded cart from the street side of the parking lot toward the store? Most loaded carts are pushed AWAY from the store, that is unless they are being pushed by a gray-headed old bat like myself, in which case they are being pushed every which way.

I used to think that parking lot was level, but now I am quite certain it is uphill going toward the store. The cart was growing heavier by the minute, the panic in my heart was getting thicker, and the embarrassment….well, we won’t talk about that. Suffice to say, more than one person pointed and snickered. Just keep walking and pretend they aren’t laughing at you. And pray you don’t know any of them.I had almost reached the front end of the parking lot and I was fishing in my purse for my cell phone to report my stolen car. I heard a car approaching from behind me so I moved over in back of a parked car to my right (Row 4) to let the car pass. After it went by, I started to angle my cart to proceed back toward the store. That’s when I caught sight of something out of the corner of my eye—a Marine Corps insignia--not a thousand yards across the parking lot, but right next to me.

With a stealthy glance to the right and left, I hurriedly unlocked the back door, shoved my groceries inside, and turned Jarhead toward home. If I could have sold tickets to all those people who were pointing and laughing, I could have made enough to pay for my groceries.

Thanks for letting me share my gray-headed heart.