I Hear Dead Women

I have, on my wall, the perpetual calendar of a dead woman.

She was alive when I bought it from her. She lived down the road from me where she was raising two children – girls, the ages of my son and daughter. One Saturday she had a yard sale and I bought her wooden, perpetual calendar for one dollar. Six months later, I read that she had died suddenly, quickly, of cancer, leaving behind a husband and the two children.

So every day I look at her calendar – now mine – and think that that day is a blessing. I am still here to kiss my husband (who leaves his dirty clothes next to the hamper and can’t tell if the dishwasher is clean or dirty) and to hug my children (who leave empty plastic water bottles lying everywhere and roll their eyes when I remind them to drive carefully).

And, because I have been given another day and the woman who owned the calendar was not, I tell my husband that I appreciate how hard he works, I notice that my daughter chooses her friends well, I let my son know I love his sense of humor.

I have buried two good friends, mothers, too. I laughed with one on a New Year’s Eve as she stumbled over words in the game we played. “I must be tired.” She said and asked for an aspirin for her headache. Within the month, we learned she had a brain tumor and that would be the last New Year’s we would laugh together this side of heaven.

And then another godly woman who learned of her cancer in January and was gone by the end of June. Too fast. Too young.

But God continues to speak to me through these dead women.

Every day when I look at the perpetual calendar on my wall I am grateful for that day. I do not bemoan the gray hairs that multiply or the wrinkles that gather; because I know it is a blessing to live long enough to see them reflected in the mirror. And when the eye doctor told me last week that my reading glasses were not strong enough and that my sight was being affected by age, I laughed. “Yes,” I told him, “isn’t it glorious?”

There is a proverb that says: “The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.” (Proverb 20:29)

Certainly I enjoyed my youth. My hair was blonder, my skin was firmer, when I looked in the mirror, the words “droop” and “sag” did not come to mind. Life stretched out before me an endless possibility, full of hope and promise. I stayed up late because I had energy not because I had hot flashes. I lingered in the mirror in admiration not wondering if I should have a mole checked. My friends and I would grow old together, I was sure.

But we won’t.

So I have made up my mind that I will relish the signs of age, I will glory in every gray hair and wonder at every wrinkle how I could be so blessed that God would grant me another day. My friends have gone on before me and will enjoy endless days in eternity but until I join them, God speaks to me through them every day I awaken and know I’ve been granted the blessing of seeing another day.

Laugh and live and spend yourself for the work of Christ! Know that each wooden day on the perpetual calendar is a gift, so don’t spend it whining or gazing into the mirror bemoaning your spent youth. Flirt with your husband. Watch the stupid YouTube video your son’s been asking you see. Take your daughter out to lunch. Visit your parents. Have dinner with your friends. Are you alone? Someone else is, too. Find them and be their friend.

I meet people all the time who were deeply affected by my friends who have died. People on whom they made an impact when they were alive and people who were changed by their deaths – people who are still being changed.

That’s taught me a huge lesson.

If God can work through dead women, He can surely work through me.

Life is a good thing. Age is a gift we don’t all receive. Listen to the voices of those who have already gone on to glory for they will tell you. Laugh at the gray. Welcome the wrinkles. The only reflection that matters is the reflection of Christ in your life. The best living is done – not from the face or the skin or the hair or the joints but from the heart.

Seize the day, my loved ones. And if I go on before you, I trust you will continue to hear my voice, too. Forget the gray; seize the day! Live for Christ and be blessed.

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    The Conversation

  1. Andrea says:

    AMEN. What a timely reminder in a time when there are so many suffering and dying around us. Cherish each moment of each day. Thank you, Lori for sharing your heart’s calender with us.
    Blessings, andrea

  2. Me too, me too. Oh Lori, this is such a good post- a good reminder. Thank you so much for the share, I am going to share this with my friends…age is a gift we don’t all get to enjoy. Bless you, Nora

  3. Heart’s calendar, I love that, Andrea!

  4. I’m touched and honored by your visit and your response, Nora! Thank you for coming by and letting me know you were here.

  5. You know, I was thinking about this as I read, and what hit me is that I am often more effected by the death of dear loved one than I was by their life… meaning only that I should cherish them more while they are here, we let the things of this world and the time restarines we allow to control us hinder many blessing. May we take each moment, and live it, no matter our age!!