The sun is slowly fading. The sky is still pale blue, but the skyline is streaked with shades of pink. White puffs of clouds drift in and out of the colors. Lyrics from an aging song (1958) by the Platters float unbidden across my mind:
“Deepening shadows gather splendor as day is done
Fingers of night will soon surrender the setting sun.”
I hold my breath as the horizon changes before me. It is twilight time.
Scientists report that twilight is the time after sunset or before sunrise. It’s a time that precedes or relieves the darkness. At twilight, light from the sky appears diffused and often pinkish. The sun is below the horizon, but its rays are scattered by Earth’s atmosphere to create the colors of twilight.
People my age are often said to be in the twilight of their lives. Everyone realizes that at some point we will leave this life, this earth, this reality. But people over 60 begin to see the sun sinking; those of us who are in their 70’s or older see the sun going down in all its pink and yellow glory.
During my twilight years, I have started making peace with who I am. I still plan to live life on this earth until I step into eternity. But I realize that many experiences I had hoped to enjoy and many achievements I had hoped to gain will not happen. And it’s okay! I accept my introverted personality and am trying to make the most of it. I understand that who I am influences how I have been able to relate with others and trust that I will be forgiven for my absences or seeming distance.
Making peace with myself means making peace with my past. I have made peace with my childhood, with my now deceased parents and their influence or lack thereof on my life. We all do harmful, foolish, self-defeating things – sometimes unknowingly – some of which permanently affect others. I am no exception. I try to make amends – and forgive myself. Others have interacted in ways that permanently affected my life; I try to forgive them.
Making peace with my present means relinquishing the expectations for each day and for each person I am with and for each situation I am in. Instead I try everyday to make the most of the life I still have. I can no longer expect to get up and go wherever and whenever I feel like going. So I find little joys where I am. I can no longer expect to be free of aches and pains, so I accept the discomfort and let go of wishing for the life that used to be.
It is hard to know how to begin making peace with my future. I can anxiously peer down the road and imagine all sorts of things: financial issues, worsening physical or mental health, taking care of my husband when I need taking care of myself – the list can get intimidating. Making peace with my future, I think, is continuing to visualize lying down in green pastures, being refreshed by cool waters, being guided in the right direction, being comforted by God’s rod and staff – and dwelling with God forever.
As I muse about twilight, another song comes to mind, a much-loved song recorded by Nelson Eddy, a classically trained baritone my mother swooned over.
“Just a song a twilight, when the lights are low,
And the flickering shadows softly come and go,
Tho’ the heart be weary, sad the day and long,
Still to us at twilight comes Love’s old song,
Comes Love’s old sweet song.”
While Love’s Old Sweet Song is a popular romantic love song, it can also be seen as a promise that Love will accompany us through everything we experience in our future twilight time.