My parents had me a little later in life during a time when no one had children in their 40's. They certainly looked much older than my friends' parents. Equating age with nearing the end of life, and the fact that my mother constantly said I was killing her, I was always afraid they were going to die.
My father passed before her, but my mother was actually a very energetic woman who despite having had 2 heart attacks and 3 strokes, died at the age of 91.
Lately, I find myself comparing my life to hers when she was my present age and can't stop wondering if I'll ever reach 91? My mother wasn't in great shape. She ate whatever she wanted and that usually meant a lot of good bread and butter, rich, fatty foods, dessert at every meal, and gallons of coffee. She smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day and as a social worker for a tough population she had a pretty stressful job. That, and she had me -a boy crazy, disco queen, teenager - to deal with.
Besides migraines every now and then, I do not recall her having the ailments I currently suffer with. I don't remember ever seeing her get out of bed in so much pain that only a long hot shower and pain meds could help her get ready for work.
I don't remember her cutting sugar out, reminding herself to drink water, giving up soda, or even worrying about what she ate for that matter. My mother never stepped foot in a gym or took an exercise class. She didn't wear a Fitbit to make sure she took 10,000 steps a day or to check to see if she was sleeping well. I never saw my mother yawn non stop all day because of lack of sleep. Unless she hid it well, my mother never worried about money because she and my father made plenty. My mother didn't raise a child by herself. My mother was surrounded by family and friends who loved her and took every opportunity to spend time with her. My mother had a loving husband who idolized her until the day he died. But my mother didn't seem content. My mother didn't know Jesus.
Having the certainty of knowing Jesus is by my side, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances" [Philippians 4:11]. Because I know Jesus, I am filled with peace that passes all understanding [Philippians 4:7].
Looking back on the 23 years I've known the Lord, I realize I haven't had to worry much because when you "cast your cares on the Lord, He will sustain you" [Psalm 55:22]. My mother was a constant worrier. Everything gave her anxiety. Most of the time she was pessimistic. Sure I have bad days, but at work the reason everyone says I'm always calm is a no-brainer: I simply cast all my anxiety on Him because He cares for me [1 Peter 5:7].
Perhaps comparing my life to my mother's is my way of reminiscing about her.
Nevertheless, neither hers nor anyone else's life is worth comparing to the life I have in the Spirit.