Aging to Perfection

I’m getting old. It happens to all of us, except, for some reason, my neighbor down the street with the creepy self-portrait in his attic. I’ve reached the age where my body is starting to require more maintenance in areas I used to be able to ignore.  I now spend more time plucking ear hairs than I do socializing. This is not entirely my fault; my wife won’t let me do both simultaneously.

She’s a nurse, and here’s the thing about marrying someone in the medical profession: they take a keen interest in your health. “When’s the last time you had a physical?” she asked, only weeks after we started dating.

“I don’t know. Three years ago? Some guy in a van behind the Applebee’s. He seemed really interested in buying my kidneys.”

She frowned. “At your age you should be getting a check-up every year.”

“C’mon, I’m in great shape and you know it! I almost beat you at arm-wrestling today.”

She made me promise to book a doctor’s appointment.  “Make sure you ask for a CBC with differential, and a comp metabolic panel.”

“Aren’t those car parts?”

“Maybe I’d better go with you.”

“There’s not a lot of room in his van.”

“You’re not going back to that guy.”

I passed my physical with flying colors, although my cholesterol was a little high. A few weeks later my wife— fiancee at the time— rolled an ankle playing volleyball and I drove her to the hospital. “Make sure,” I reminded her, “to ask for a BLT with differential, and a calm metabolic spaniel.”

Now seven years into marriage, we know that staying fit and eating right is important. We want to age gracefully together. But age we will, and one way or another our bodies will succumb to the effects of time.

But at the end of time, so the Bible tells us in the Book of Revelation, all Creation will be restored and renewed, “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1), including our bodies. Imagine! Perfect bodies! No diseases, no disabilities, no allergies, no comb-overs (perfect hair is implied), and no aging! So what eternal age will we be? Eighteen? Twenty-five?  If so, everywhere in heaven will look like Spring Break at Daytona Beach.

It’s a hope that can help us deal with physical flaws, frailty, and the inexorable process of aging here and now. In the divine scheme of things, old is temporary, youthfulness will be everlasting. No matter how broken down you get on this side, trusting in God is the guarantee that someday your body will be triumphantly rejuvenated and made whole.

Which is why I’m thinking again about that guy with the van behind Applebee’s. Don’t tell my wife, but one of my kidneys could pay for a new metabolic panel for my car someday.

Cuyler Black