I don’t feel seventy and people tell me I don’t look seventy. My response to that is, “Just keep blowin’ in my ear and I’ll follow you anywhere.” Or “it’s because I refuse to grow up, since I noticed years ago that when people grew up they started growing old.” I feel like I used think I would feel when I reached forty.

The first thing in the morning for every one of the previous sixty-nine birthdays I heard Mom’s voice, usually on the phone wishing me a happy birthday and telling me what a wonderful day that was on October 20, 1944 … but not this year; and not ever again.

And to tell the truth, I don’t know how I feel. Every evening at around eight or nine o’clock find myself thinking, “Time to call Mom.” And then, “Oh yeah, she’s not there anymore” and the tears well up. At the same time there is a sense of freedom that I’ve never felt before. My entire life, what Mom thought about me, what I was doing, about to do, thinking about doing, always had an impact on my life and the way I lived it. Now, even though, on a certain level I feel as though she’s watching, on a very gut level I sense a freedom to continue without worrying about Mom’s opinion. Confusing? Yeah!

On a purely practical level, I come from a gene pool of long lived individuals. Dad was 92; Mom nearly 97, her mother 91. My other grandparents came from similarly long lived individuals but unfortunately died of causes that overrode that genetic propensity. So, what do I have to look forward to? I have no idea, beyond today, what reality will produce, but I can tell you this, I have a laundry list, a bucket list if you prefer, of things I want to accomplish, sights to see, sounds to hear and emotions to emote. Like my current Facebook icon states, “God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Now I’m so far behind I will never die!”

My senses produce two levels of feelings. On one level I feel, Mom’s, Dad’s, Marilyn’s and Granny’s presence watching everything I do. On the other level, the level of reality I now live in, for the first time in my life I feel a sense of freedom from their opinions about what I do with my life and that is exhilarating. I actually feel free, totally free for the first time in my life; free from everything that created a sense of guilt, except the lingering guilt for feeling free of guilt.

If I didn’t have a solid sense of what Abba created me to be and do, that silly “guilt” would probably be the end of me and anything I was placed here to do. If I didn’t have a solid sense of His approval and love, that too would probably be the end of me and anything I was placed here to do.

So, here I restate what it is that I was placed here to do. State clearly and simply that Abba, God to Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Mormons, Baptists, etc, etc. etc. … doesn’t care what you wear. As He told Samuel when Samuel thought He would select one of David’s more handsome elegant appearing brothers to succeed the disappointing King Saul, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions.” What He cares about is that we accept the package He created in us and use the talents and abilities included in that package to help others understand how important it is for us to appreciate our diversity and love Him first and everyone else He puts in our lives second.

Not one of my best efforts here but what can I say? This Georgia, Over and Out.