Reflections on Aging
I spent my sixtieth birthday in a nursing home—younger than most residents, younger than I would have expected. Today I want to share my reflections on the changes wrought in my life, the arrival of my senior years and the person I wanted to be.
There is a sign in the nursing home that reads, “A hundred years from now, it won’t matter what kind of car I drove or where I lived, but the difference I made in other peoples’ lives.” Mentally I add to the list, “how many books I’ve written.” How long does God want me to write? So far He hasn’t given me any signs to slow down.
This year I read a quote that helped me put my short time, and whatever success I have in my remaining years, into focus. It said something to the effect of, “Don’t worry about the hundred people who read your books today, or even the ten people who will read them in ten years. Write for the one person who will read them a hundred years from now.”
I never expected someone to read my books in a hundred years. I never aimed to write the great American novel, that will become required reading in classrooms, only to offer books that would entertain and perhaps touch lives.
So far, they are lasting. My first book came out nine years ago; it was repacked with the two follow up books this summer, Colorado Melodies. Romanian Rhapsody came from my heart and, while now somewhat outdated, it touches all who read it. Next Christmas, my first novella, Dressed in Christmas, will be reprinted in Mountain Christmas Brides.
Birthday greetings from relative strangers called me dear, sweet, precious, beautiful. When I asked people to describe me in one word, they said things like overcomer, steadfast, tolerant, talented and saved. Each of those are qualities that I treasure.
But this one thing I know: God has me here, at this time and in this place, for a reason. If that reason includes daily pain and sleeplessness—so it does. He will comfort and speak to me in the pain, and He will use it to help others as well.
And God has used me to touch others: close friends with a resident many consider irritating, an older sister to a troubled resident, a listening ear to someone who shuts herself away from most people. I have been here, for a reason.
The longer I’m in a nursing home, the more I realize the truth of those reflections. Reach out to those older family members and friends—you may be blessed more than you know.
Best-selling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over fifty books and more than 250 devotionals.