Everyone always said I took after Grandma A., and I was always happy to hear it. I loved her easy going personality. I loved that she remained physically and mentally fit well into old age. I loved that she took a flying lesson and flew a plane on her 80th birthday because she had always wanted to fly a plane.
She didn’t like vegetables, she ate a lot of fruit and she enjoyed a piece of chocolate or two or three every single day.
Somewhere in all the comparisons between Grandma and me, I picked up the idea that I would live as long as she did. She passed just shy of her 102nd birthday.
And my Grandma W. lived 98 years.
“You have a lot of longevity in your family, Julie,” people would say, “you’re going to live a long time.”
And so I grew up thinking I would.
And then six years ago I was struck with some really bizarre symptoms. Many, many, many medical tests gave no explanations. I thought I was dying.
And that messed with my head. Because I was supposed to live a long time!
Was God asleep at the switch?
Was a cosmic mistake about to be made?
It was then that I realized that a long life is not guaranteed to anyone, even me.
A long life isn’t even the goal; it doesn’t equal success – though somewhere in all that longevity talk I picked up the impression that it did.
And therefore I was failing.
I was born at the tail end of 1959.
Chickens started to be genetically modified in 1960. Then came the modification of vegetables – modified to withstand the harsh, toxic pesticides with which they are doused.
And now, in 2015, I read that those in my generation will likely not live as long as those in our parents’ generation. I’m guessing it is because we ingested those toxic chemicals in our formative years – and throughout our entire lives – and our parents did not.
My sister is battling cancer. Battling hard. And she is losing. And I am acutely and heartbreakingly aware of just what finite creatures we are.
But we’ll be okay, because her spirit is infinite, my spirit is infinite, her life is eternal and my life is eternal.
Thanks to Jesus.