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That’s what my life is now.  I know, that by some standards, I’m still young…but as my Doctor tells me; though my years may be 60 (soon to be 61), I’ve “burned the candle at both ends” long enough to now be an 85-year-old inside 61-year-old skin.  So, now that I’m on the other side of the hill, full moments, past and present; wrinkles, fat, and grey hair, bear witness to all those past intangible, full moments…with gratitude.

I, for one, am happy to know that I have now reached the point where I have lived longer than I will live in the future years…unless I live to be 113.  Having never been fearful of death, I don’t at this point have any desire to live longer than I should…and in fact, am happier to be the age I am than at any other time in my life.

God has been, is, and will been a friend to me, gone the “extra mile” and continues to shock me with His graciousness which I have still to figure out…as little as I have done for Him in return.

To be a Believer & Follower on the “other-side-of-the-hill” is to look back, to observe God and oneself from a distance, and continue to learn.

I climbed up the hill, aiming to reach the summit quickly…by travelling straight for it. In my rush to reach the pinnacle, to “grow up”, I missed some beautiful sights.  Sure, I had the strength then to grab an outcropping of rock when I needed to, and pull myself up.  Yes, I could look back at the sunset of each day and see what I had accomplished.  Sure, it’s good to have goals, make a plan and work the plan…but along the way I may have passed up times I didn’t need to move so quickly.  In my effort to go, go, go…I have missed the goal completely sometimes.  God’s request that I love Him is played out by loving those He has placed in my path…sometimes the path was more important than those who took up space on the path.

I find that now that I’m on the other side going down instead of up, I zigzag…partially to keep from falling.  Now the path is just as steep, but I am going down, not up.  I’ve learned, there is more to be seen and experienced by not racing down the hill.  And the truth is, I’ll reach the bottom when the time is right, till then I should enjoy the path and the people on it…not going straight down, but covering the entire width of the hill and all it has to offer.

When I climbed up, my goal was the summit. Searching for a “mountain-top” experience was often the goal of my younger self.  Now I realize that those experiences happen, are serendipitous and not always a result of planning. I accept them and enjoy them when they come, but as I now see the valley below, I realize that every part of the hill has something to offer.  The path is of God’s creation, He has gone ahead of me, and it is cleared and made especially for me…who am I to deviate from His map?  Getting OVER the mountaintop is the actual goal…partially because the air is so thin at the top, no one could stay there for long.

As my younger self ascended the hill, I had no choice but to empty my pack of things that were too heavy.  Now that I am over the summit, I’m finding that I do not even miss the things I threw out of my pack…and so, am only holding on to the things that might be helpful to someone else along the way.  I tend to be a hoarder, in part because the things I collect around me have meaning and are memory-holders.  But, in truth, middle-age has brought me to the learning stage that tells me how little I need.  And also, my joy, my life, my journey is more fulfilling (once again) when I pay attention to the people on the path…and it’s good to have things with you which connect you with  them.  That it may be something they need is just a part of why those things are necessary.  Connection with others is the important thing.

Now that I am closer to valley, I can see a gate.  The journey on the hill has shown me that there is more than one hill, but I couldn’t see that until I got “over-the-hill”.  When I was climbing, my thought was that my life would end once I got over the summit…now that I AM over the summit, I’m glad to see that there is still more, and there will be more…especially after I walk through the gate in the garden in the valley.

 Thanks to all whose paths cross my path, who walk the path with me, who have carried my pack for me, who have guarded me when I have slept and mended me when I have fallen.  To the ones who travel with me, by blood or by choice, I am who I am because of you and your love.  And to the Shepherd who leads and asks me to follow, I am just beginning to make out the melody you’ve been singing, and look forward to a continuing journey filled with many more years on this path, and unfathomable moments beyond the gate.