My Tante Bobbie called me tonight. We chatted for a beautiful hour on the phone, sharing news and stories from our lives. What would you have to say when you are 91? She tells me how she just took her whole family on a cruise in Alaska this summer alongside news of her eight pots outside that she waters every day. She tells me how she drives to the nursing home nearby, taking other elderly residents, who are younger than her, on outings. She picks them up, takes them out, all while driving on the freeway.
Bobbie was one of my Oma's best friends, and her cousin. She still lives in Arcadia, the place my Oma settled in after she immigrated. She still attends the same church the family went to back in the 1940s. Bobbie used to host a tea after church. This was the tea that my grandparents first met.
She doesn't host teas anymore, but she still feeds people. She feeds people with her life and, more importantly, her words. She feeds my soul with vibrant words of faith, and little cards in the mail. She just overflows with endless gratitude and exuberance. She chatters a mile a minute, sharing all her recent sorrows and joys-- four funerals of friends and a miraculous pregnancy for one of her granddaughters who had several miscarriages. She tells me that she just got email: "Imagine that! At 91 I have email!" she says.
She isn't an anomaly. She still faces life as a 91 year old. She has a compressed disk in her back, she had a colon resection 26 years ago after fighting cancer, and she has high blood pressure that fatigues her. But her words ring in my ear: "Jesus makes all the difference." In contrast to the depressed elderly I see every day in the hospital, here is a woman who defies age. She defies it with her faith, her outlook and her Lord.
She tells me how she loves potatoes as I fry them on the stove while we talk. She says I can eat the fish, she'll eat the potatoes. I wish I could have her to dinner tonight, if only to just listen to her love for life and the Savior. She tells me that life is precious. Every day that passes, she realizes it more and more. Every day is special, whether it's a letter from a friend, or a phone call, or an invitation to a barbeque. What a heritage and treasure! I have my grandmother's best friend still calling me to tell me that my life is just getting started. She reassures me that I am just planting my foot in life. She tells me that she can't think of a better way to start life. I need to hear that. I need her perspective. I want to live like her, believing with joy that every day is a gift, remembering that this day is indeed special.