OPINION: Getting old is a pain

Getting older -- getting old -- has certain advantages. As you age, you gain experience that at times is helpful in dealing with many of life's common problems. For example, a while back I decided to fix a leak underneath our kitchen sink. I tightened a metal cap on a fitting that was leaking, and was almost successful, except for the drip that fell every three seconds. So I decided to tighten the cap just a tiny bit more.

That "tiny bit more" split the PVC feed line to the kitchen faucet, and the result was a beautifully arcing geyser that erupted under the sink and landed in the middle of the kitchen floor. So I went outside and turned off the water to the house, and Tammy spent the next hour sopping up water in the kitchen.

And that's when I remembered a very important personal rule -- learned from experience -- that I broke when I crawled under the kitchen sink: when dealing with plumbing, leave the tools in the box and call a plumber. That infraction cost us a day without water and hundreds of dollars to fix my "fix."

Where was I? Oh yeah, the advantages of getting older. There aren't that many.

And sometimes -- often -- getting older is a pain. Literally.

I was sitting in a surgery waiting room a while back. Again. This time it was Tammy's turn, fixing a problem she acquired a while back when she fell down a flight of stairs trying to protect her granddaughter. She currently leads me in the surgery count, although I'm not really sure of the score.

We've both had our share of physical ailments that come either from injury, illness or -- more common lately -- old age. It seems more and more that something hurts, or, if it doesn't hurt, doesn't work. And medical intervention is often required. Sometimes it's drugs. Sometimes it's new parts. Sometimes it's surgery. And sometimes it's nothing, because that's the only thing that can be done for some ailments.

And, sooner or later, neither drugs, nor new parts, nor surgery can suffice in keeping the body functioning. Eventually we all face the moment when the body can no longer retain the spirit, and it returns to its Creator. "We all owe a death," says a character from a popular movie. It's true.

But here's something I resolutely believe: even though I will someday die, and my physical body will break down into its constituent parts -- "dust" if you will -- I will, in a physical body, experience a place of unimaginable beauty and peace. This will happen because I believe in the Creator and in the Deliverer who paid the price for my disobedience so I might be redeemed to that Creator. I will never understand the depth of that love this side of Heaven. But I don't have to. All I have to do is accept it.

You can, too.

"I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth. And after my body is destroyed, this I know: that in my flesh I shall see God." -- Job 19:25-26

Doug Chastain is a retired teacher and large-vehicle transportation specialist for the Siloam Springs School District. (OK, he drives a bus.) He is also a grass maintenance technician at Camp Siloam. (Yeah, he mows the lawn.) You can contact him at [email protected].