The peach-colored gladiola greeted me each morning. Its bloom a reminder of summer days and the impressive creations of the Master Gardener.
But within a week, the lower buds began to shrivel, then drop off. While the top of the stalk retained moisture and health, the bottom continued to degenerate.
Yet even the dead blossoms held sections of their original beauty. Miniscule veins of color. Delicate membranes leftover from full flowering. The furling of a final blossom mirrored as the bulb it once was.
Such a lovely plant and a reminder of the fragile value of every life form. So like the final act many of my friends and I are journeying through.
We have seen our dreams and goals bud and flower. Children raised. Grandkids birthed with the promise new generations always offer.
Our careers established, thriving or enduring until we reached that magic retirement age. We look back with fondness at the memories of colleagues we knew, accomplishments valued, goals reached. Perhaps even souls we have impacted with our words or our books.
A life lived with purpose and the hope that our work mattered. We mattered.
Now, we are seeing more wrinkles. The surge of life feels slower. Every year requires more intentional ways to stay healthy. To keep away from chronic illnesses or acute dangers.
Our skin pales and membranes feel more fragile. We drop out of the 8-5 traffic loop that scurries over highway threads each Monday through Friday. We are grateful, but also miss the adrenaline rush of getting to work and completing our day.
As we move farther from the blossom of youth, we realize how quickly our lives budded. How swiftly purpose changed. And we wonder — did I make a difference? Did it matter, the work I did and the life I lived?
The answer is Yes. Abundantly confirmed. Even though the physical appearance has faded and shriveled, the soul’s significance remains intact.
Wisdom has germinated and is eagerly offered to the youngers who inquire. The lessons we have learned can still be shared through memoir, blog posts and books.
Impacts still to be accomplished. Souls still to be inspired.
And within our last act, we look upward toward the prize that calls us home. To be even more like our Creator. To offer whatever we have left. To move forward — with hope.
©2022 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
For a daily meditation in the last act, check out Day by Day: Hope for Senior Wisdom.