I had the rest of my life planned out when I was in my late 20's. At the time, I was heavily into fitness - running 50 miles a week and even a marathon. The mindset was that I would continue to run forever...forever being fit, forever being healthy.
But then one day while running around White Rock Lake twice, I felt a pain in my left knee. Little did I know that the spiral downward had started. The resulting discomfort ruined my marathoning career and limited me to occasional three-mile runs. But still, I was fit.
Then the left hip started acting up. Two exploratory surgeries later, the docs concluded that they were clueless. Nothing jumped out as a source of the pain.
Then the biggee happened. A herniated disk sent fragments into some nerves that ran to my left knee, pretty much permanently crippling me. It's impossible for me to run, and one-mile walks have to be followed by a week off. The great dreams of my 20's have disintegrated into so much shredded cartilege.
Now, even though I taught 7th graders for 36 years, my mental faculties seem to be intact. Note: some close relatives will dispute this. But I've spent so much time lately with my mom and my mother-in-law that I know the inevitable will happen. The memory will begin to fail, the normal things of life will start to be confusing, and I will repeat myself without ever knowing it.
My mom is about as sharp intellectually as they come. Now, in her 85th year, the easy things are becoming tedious and baffling to her. It's painful to watch this happening. And I'm sure she never thought that she would ever turn the wrong way down a one-way street in a familiar neighborhood (like she did last week).
To me, this is way scarier than losing my ability to run. I don't want my wife and kids to see me deteriorate mentally (even more than now). I'm begging for Jesus to arrive on the scene prior to this happening.
I'm so glad, however, that God has a plan for my future that's even better than the one I had in my twenties. I'm very anxious to check out the living arrangements in my mansion built on high. I feel for the non-believers who think we die and that's it. What a tragedy. What a motivation for me to spread the good news of Jesus and the heaven that awaits those who love Him!