Getting Older

What a beautiful warm day we enjoyed this Sunday in Ireland. The sun was shining and the sky was blue. The clocks went back an hour. People took the opportunity of waking up with an hour to spare and head to the outdoors. Perhaps we all wanted to enjoy the inviting warmth before darker and colder days approach.

We are like some butterflies, Red Admiral and Tortoiseshell, that came to my garden a few weeks ago. Late blooming sunflowers were lifting their heads to the sun in a sheltered corner of the garden. The butterflies spread their wings to soak up the warmth on the face of the sunflower. The beautiful colours of their wings lit up in the light. They lingered around the sunny corner trying out some other flowers they love, while the sun shone.

Brendan and I took the ferry from Portaferry to Strangford. A large crane was positioned near the terminal. It was available to lift any remaining yachts and boats out of the water to be stored for the winter. The end of the season for letting the wind fill the colourful sails.

We visited an outdoor market in Dundrum. As we walked about the stalls I could feel the warmth of the sun on my back. Everyone was light hearted. Smells of cooking wafted through the air. Both food outlets were doing plenty of business. We discovered a few hidden treasures; a mosaic topped table and chairs was my favourite find. I will restore them and look forward to tea in the garden next spring. Our children warn us not to be getting more stuff. But we don’t listen. Our home will end up as a museum full of items that evoke memories from our younger days, English Rose China, a crystal decanter, a rocking horse or tapes of old movies.

Some visitors called with us this evening. I sat with my friend by the fire. We chatted about our aches and pains. I suggested they can easily be warded off by a Magnisium supplement. I read yesterday from another blogger’s page that Magnesium is a cure for all; pain in limbs, high blood pressure, indigestion and insomnia. I will be keeping a bottle of Milk of Magnesia in the cupboard. There will be warm cups of cocoa at bedtime and Epsom Salt baths often this winter. No flu jab for me!

I was meditating on these words this evening after an active day.

But the godly will flourish like palm trees, and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. Even in old age they will produce fruit. They will remain vital and green..
So even to old age and grey hairs, O God do not forsake me.
Psalm 92 and 71.

Bearing Fruit in Old Age

I had a good sleep after our journey home from Slovakia.

I lie down and I sleep and I wake again sustained by The Lord.
Psalm 3 v 5.
These are days to rest after Brendan and my work in Eastern Slovakia.  We met beautiful families there.  It is a privilege to have the opportunity to share with others God’s goodness and mercy.

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I went out to the greenhouse to fetch a tomato for my breakfast.  Brendan was creating a treat for me on our first morning home.  One particular tomato plant has been blossoming and bearing fruit long after the others have withered.  I bought three different varieties of plants at the beginning of spring. The tomato plants all looked alike on the shelf at Homebase.  Gardener’s Delight is the only one still bearing fruit.  Take note anyone with a greenhouse and green fingers out there.
I was reminded of the scripture verse that says,
You shall bear fruit in old age.  Your leaf will not wither.

““But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.””
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭17:7-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I gathered some fruit.  Brendan called me for breakfast.  It was very welcome.  My strength will be renewed after a few more days of rest.

Later today my son was telling me about a lady he met recently.  She was a young at heart seventy eight year old.  She works in a Charity shop three days a week and travels from Carryduff with her bus pass.  This lady welcomed customers warmly and engaged each in conversation.  John was struck by her enthusiasm.  He listened to some of her life experiences.

She worked in the company C & A in Belfast.  She turned in for work looking the part, well suited and make up, perfect.  She spent her money on the latest fashion and good food.  After marriage she decided to give up work and rear her children.  She found that she was able to manage without the extra income her job could have offered.  She survived without the latest fashion and the best of food.  She learned to budget and enjoy being home with the children.

When her children were reared she went back to education and got qualifications to teach, which she did till she retired.  On retirement she launched into some other activity. This lady has important life experiences and is sharing them with anyone who will listen.  She is not giving up.  She is living life to the full.  Her leaf is not withering and she is bearing fruit at old age.

Health Hazard. Danger of Cancer. Toxic Environment.

Back in 2010 I was facing death.  I had fourth stage cancer.  I was faced with the reality that my life and influence on the earth would be over soon.  I had been offered the help of the doctors and their wisdom.  I was willing  and thankful to take their guidance.  They have dedicated their lives to relieve suffering of cancer patients and had many years experience in dealing with others who were vulnerable, like myself.

When I was suffering from Colon Cancer, I looked to the internet to give me more information about my condition and how other sufferers coped with cancer.  It is frightening the statistics quoted.   Cancer is the second killer disease in North America!  My prognosis wasn’t good.  Even with treatment from the medical profession alone I would die from the disease.

I read in the scriptures that God promises three score and ten years to live and more if we have strength.  Psalm 90 v 10
I began to research to see if there is a key to how people live long lives.  I found that people from around the world who are healthy and live long lives are happy, peaceful and thankful.  They think and speak positively.
I know from reading the Scripture,  “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (‭Proverbs‬ ‭18‬:‭21‬ NIV).   Is there a key here to a long life, the use of the tongue.

I began to reflect from my own experience what I observed in the use of the tongue.
I will give you an example.  Strong, angry words hurt others but also hurts the one who speaks.  He is speaking death.  Hurting words crush the weak.  No one wants to be around someone who is angry.  Speaking kind, loving words brings life.  The first nurse whom I encountered in the oncology hospital had a kind, gentle voice.  She comforted me and made me feel at ease, even though I was going to have a procedure that would show I had a 9 cm tumour in my rectum.  She was careful with the sick patients she would meet every day. I will always remember her and thanked God for her that sad morning.  She was speaking life.

When I visit Canada I stay with people who are welcoming, positive, helpful and bless.  They speak life into me.  The homes I have stayed in are warm and peaceful and give rest to the weary traveller.   I have come to see the importance of positive words.

It is easy to grow old in an atmosphere of love and peace where people speak kindly and are upbuilding.  The power of these kind of words brings life.  During the thirty years of Trouble in Northern Ireland the atmosphere was toxic and grey.  Anger and hatred in people’s hearts manifested in killings.  Television News brought reports of bombings, shootings and destruction.  Many people were killed during that time, but I believe many others died due to broken hearts, strokes, cancers and other diseases due to the stress of the continued war.  No peace.

I did more research.  People who are vulnerable to bad health live stressful lives.  Suffering stress, fear and anxiety causes our bodies to release toxins.  This leaves our body fluids acidic or toxic.  When one is healthy his body fluids are alkaline.  The immune system in a healthy, whole person works well to fight off infections.  In a person is under stress the immune system is weakened by the toxins in the body and disease can take a hold.  Cancer takes hold in a toxic environment inside the body.  “How can one avoid a toxic environment?”, I asked myself.

I began to think.  Was I speaking or thinking words of life?  Was I allowing toxic conditions in my body because of my words and actions.  Was my body not able to fight off disease.

More research. Have people been healed of cancer? I was encouraged to find testimonies from people who were healed by Jesus.  I believe that God heals today and I have prayed for others who have recovered from diseases, even cancer.  But it was more difficult to believe for myself.

I searched the bible to see if cancer is mentioned.  I discovered the following words.
Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.
Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. This kind of talk spreads like cancer.   (‭2 Timothy‬ ‭2‬:‭14, 16-17‬). Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. (‭2 Timothy‬ ‭2‬:‭23-24‬ NLT)

These words spoke to my heart and brought truth to me.  Is my argument contributing to my condition?  Is my strife causing me to have cancer.  My words and thoughts at that time were not positive and full of life.  I was negative and hopeless.  I didn’t care any more.

There is much opportunity today to gain knowledge through education and from the media especially the internet.  From this knowledge both men and women, young and old can have an opinion about everything that comes up in conversation.  Opinions may differ, sharp exchanges occur, then comes argument and fights.

I am known as a strong character.  I have knowledge and was not a bit afraid to offer my opinion in conversations.   My forceful behaviour alienated me from others.  My proud attitude made me unpopular.  I would argue my opinion and not defer to others.  This behaviour really annoyed my husband.  I became annoyed and bitter with others when they would not listen to me.  I was hurt by how others treated me.  I internalised my feelings.  I acted in ignorance.  I didn’t think anyone would listen to me anymore so I hid my condition for three years.

I felt lonely in the midst of my family.  I nurtured the hurt I felt from the rejection of others.  I tried to justify myself, instead of forgiving those who hurt me.  Holding onto thoughts of self righteousness, thinking I was right and others were wrong, made me loose sleep and made me depressed.  I was on a spiral down to death.

When I read from the scripture what it says about argument I did not want to continue behaving like I did.  I withdrew from difficult conversations and situations.  I became quiet.  In God’s eyes a quiet spirit is precious.

You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭3‬:‭4‬ NLT)

I believe my thoughts and words of bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment and anger from my heart contributed to my disease of cancer.  I was creating a toxic environment inside myself and outside myself.  I was not speaking life.  Life and death are in the power of my tongue.  Another scripture says do not let a root of bitterness grow up lest many become defiled.  Bitterness had taken hold.  I had a 9 cm tumour in my body.

These attitudes God calls sins.  Jesus came to forgive our sins and heal our diseases.  I accepted Jesus forgiveness and asked for his healing from the cancer in my body.