I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Paula Frazier’s reflection “Savoring the And Ten.”
Hospitality is a family legacy. There was always room for one more at the table. There was always space for someone who needed a place. My aunts reminisced about my grandfather feeding potato pancakes to all the neighborhood children. When I married, my husband and I continued to open our home to others. We hosted weekly fellowships with food and music. We housed friends in need. Our doors were always open.
But I had never considered showing hospitality to myself. There were parts of me that were not always welcome. The creative parts were not given enough freedom because I considered them frivolous. Creativity was limited to cooking and some crafting. Then I celebrated my sixtieth birthday.
Somehow the quarter century and half century marks were greeted with enthusiasm, but not much intention. At sixty I realized that I was now entering the ‘And Ten’ of Psalm 90’s three score and ten. My three score was past. I may have another, but what would I do with the And Ten? What would be my legacy? Memento mori took on a new significance. I needed to make time to welcome all of me, especially the parts that longed to create. As I thought more about my own death and how it would affect those I love, the more I realized I must live more intentionally. As I endeavor to be present in the Now, Death has become my friend.
Death challenges me to be the person God created me to be. To welcome all of me, to be courageous in living. I make time for the projects I had set aside for Someday. Now, everyday is Someday. Finally, I knitted the sweater from a pattern I found forty years ago. I make the new recipe instead of filing it. I use, and sometimes break, my grandmother’s glassware. I enjoy the beautiful blessings I am given. I face my fears and try new things.
At the halfway point of my And Ten, I have done some significant firsts. Overcoming a fear of water, I have gone outrigger canoeing and kayaking in the Pacific Ocean. They may have been man made rocks, but I jumped off of them into a pool. I failed at surfing, but had a delightfully tiring time bonding with my great nephew. I rode a mechanical bull. I slithered down a Slip and Slide. I have learned that I serve a God who likes to have fun.
The most significant part of these firsts are the memories and bonds I am creating with the next generation. I am given an opportunity to speak into their lives. To show them that a life well lived goes deeper than things and experiences. That all of these good gifts come from a generous Creator who longs for us to enjoy them, and for us to enjoy the depths of Creative Presence. It is a joy to recognize together the gifts we have been given in simple everyday experiences.
Our Creator delights with my great niece and I as we contemplate the beauty of an apple. Together we savor the fragrance of the fruit mixed with sugar and spices. Our creativity is expressed in crust. Everyone enjoys the our masterpiece. It tastes as magnificent as it looks. We honor Creator, creation, family and friends with our gift. Someday she will share that baking a pie is more than just making dessert. When we put our hearts into the preparation, we are sharing more than food.
We share ourselves. We welcome ourselves and those we love. As I begin the second half of my And Ten, I am retired from my profession as a Pediatric Practice Manager. I intend to continue to live in the present with the Eternal Now as my guide. I will journey with my friend Death until we make that final crossing. I will welcome everything that comes into my world as a gift from my Generous Creator. I will live fully doing all I can to leave a legacy of wisdom and wonder.
This offering is another first. I have always loved words, both reading and writing them. I have written devotionals for small groups, poetry for myself, but this is the first time I have had the courage to submit something to a virtually unknown audience. Published or not, it is another way that I am living my commitment to honoring all the gifts I have been given.
Paula Frazier is a follower of Jesus Christ, who lives by the beach with her husband and dog. She spends her days worshipping her Creator, honoring the gifts she is blessed with through loving and serving creation.