The “golden years” of adulthood are generally defined as the span of time between retirement and the beginning of age-imposed physical, emotional, and cognitive limitations, which would roughly fall between the ages of 65 and 80+, according to the experts.
I turned 70 this year so by that definition I should be in my ‘golden years’, that glorious age when one retires to realize some dreams, relax with the grandkids, travel, and live the life of leisure…no worries…no pains.
But the image of a cloudless blue sky above the stunning red, brown, yellow leaves melded into a kaleieoscope of fall glory, a radiant golden panorama all around, is not my current reality.
I see “twilight” instead.
“Twilight” is the name given to the period between dawn and sunrise, or between sunset and dusk, when light is still visible in the sky due to sunlight scattering off the atmosphere. The Online Etymology Dictionary goes on to explain that the word twilight comes two Old English words, twi meaning two, and the noun light.
It doesn’t mean two kinds of light or light occurring twice. Rather, it appears to refer to ‘half’ light. The Sanskrit word for ‘twilight’ samdhya means literally ‘a holding together, junction,’ [and] Middle High German ezwischerliecht literally ‘tweenlight.’
Both of these — the idea of holding together or of being between two things – are an ideal description for this in-between time of morning and evening when the sun isn’t in the sky but its light still brightens things enough for us to see, even if only just barely.
Another writer, Jayme Heimbuch, put it this way: diffused light adds a purple and pink tinge to everything, making it a magical and temporal moment at the beginning and end of each day.
Kind of like being in two opposite places at once; or the tension we speak of in our faith journeys when we know something as certain in the future but right now face dismal realities that blur our vision instead. Our Pastor Christian calls it the “already, not yet” time.
It was in December of last year that I was really feeling old and useless. Maybe it was because I had not been able to get out of my house for several weeks or maybe it was because others were going for a walk in the new fallen snow and I couldn’t join them; for whatever reason, I felt like one of the grumpy old men in the movie of the same name.
When I turned 60 I threw a big party for myself. This once-in-a-lifetime gala was a Garden Dinner Party for 40 in my backyard gardens which at the time were in their prime.
I think every person should throw at least one party for themselves during their lifetime just to celebrate the WHO and the I AM of self, but that’s another topic. Anyhow, I had my Princess Torte from Woullets and my Happy Lamps and my Champagne toasts.
It was grand. You could call it ‘golden’.
Then I got Parkinson’s and the twilight time gradually descended upon me: the in-between time of morning and evening when the sun isn’t in the sky but its light still brightens things enough for us to see, even if only just barely.
The already, but the not yet, too.
The diffused light of this reality adds a purple and pink tinge to everything, making it a magical and very temporary moment at the beginning and end of each day. Of each life?
I felt old and useless in December but then the purple-pink magic happened again.
God spoke to me and this is what he said:
Isaiah 46:4 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 Even to your old age, I am He,
And even to gray hairs I will carry you!
I have made, and I will bear;
Even I will carry, and will deliver you.
It surprised and encouraged me. My God said there will be another chapter after 70 and He assured me that it will be lofty and grand.
Barbara LaTondresse – 11 October 2018
Some photos and thoughts and wordings taken from: