I posted this on an earlier site and decided to repost here since I mention this guest author in "Appreciating Successes—at Writing and Hostessing," July 12, 2013.
When a writer in my Memoir Writing class at CollinCollege invited me to her 70th birthday party, I decided I like the way 70 looks. Afterwards, she wrote her thoughts about stepping into a new decade, thoughts so profound that I asked if I could share them on this blog. Perhaps we each should look at our decades to find where we stand and if, like Pat Mahle, we are looking forward to the abundance that lies ahead. Thank you, Pat, for showing us a way to reflect on the decades of our lives.
S E V E N T Y
70 is a number of great magnitude and consequence.
It can only be divided by 1 or 10.
70 in the periodic table is a rare element, ytterbium, used in atomic clocks.
The law says the copyright lasts 70 years then belongs to the public.
Astronomy used the number 70 for the first important eclipse.
The followers of Yahweh used the number 70 to pass on life-giving myths:
70 nations and 70 world languages form the core of Jewish tradition.
70 men make up the Great Sanhedrin.
70 elders were assembled by Moses at God’s command.
LXX, the Roman numeral, is the symbol for Septuagint.
Jesus appointed 70 disciples and sent them to preach liberation and justice for all.
Jesus said, “Forgive 70 times seven.”
70 years is 7 decades and in that time I’ve had at least 7 bodies of good work:
The discovery of walking, talking, living and learning in community.
The work of finding myself in the mist of the tribe.
The creation of a life-giving covenant with Jerry; together unearthing the awareness that our covenant is as crucial as either of us.
The wonder of new creation and the task of helping children find their own wings.
The dreamlike role of giving unconditional love to grandchildren.
The opportunity to share the mystery of love and grace and the task of blessing others because God loves us.
The work of mentoring, guiding, and becoming a wise woman.
Along the way I have receive at least 7 gifts:
Six siblings who gave me love, belonging, encouragement, and laughter that made me want my own wings.
My rock, Jerry who encourages and challenges me to become true to myself.
Those I call friends who have changed me, loved me, and make life worth living.
The enjoyment of nature’s beauty with its sunrises and sets, its new growth pushing through the earth and giving up its harvest, its night sky that puts all of life in perspective and makes me ask the question, “Who am I in the vastness of the universe?”
The discovery of new places to explore, new residences to call home, and new people to encounter.
Communities that push me beyond the claim of my origin and do so with love and grace.
The gift of knowing I am not alone, that I live in God’s world.
The gift of 70 is so rare the French don’t have a word for it.
The eastern cultures of China, Japan, and Korea call 70 the Rare Age of the Golden Times.
70 is significant to me; I have fewer years ahead than are behind.
But with the gifts discovered, and bodies of work accomplished, even more lies ahead to add to the abundance of love and grace I have received.
Pat Beghtel Mahle, 2012
Mix a bit of research with reflection and tell us what your current decade means to you. What accomplishments stand out in your mind? What are you looking forward to in your next decade?