The middle-age years of life have introduced me to the beginnings of aches and pains.
Sigh. When I feel the twinges, I can hardly believe I’m old enough … that it’s my turn. And I think of how my precious grandmother, who lived to be 97, must have felt.
Soon after turning 50, I noticed some weakness in my hands.
I began having trouble opening jars, and it wasn’t just those with really big lids.
My joints hurt every now and then, especially in my thumbs. Then I began feeling some discomfort in my right hip.
I’d always loved to walk, and that was becoming less fun. I just couldn’t believe these nuisances were creeping up on me “already.”
When I told my family what I’d been experiencing, our daughter asked if I had been taking calcium or vitamin D. The answer was no.
After all, I’m outdoors quite a bit and I eat a lot of vegetables. But she encouraged me to start and told me I should get a physical. Turns out the blood work showed I was low on the vitamin D scale.
Within a couple of weeks of adding that simple over-the-counter supplement, I noticed the pain in my hip had faded and my hands had improved.
I had put up with those symptoms for at least a year, somewhat in a combination of denial and deep down dread of the aging process to come.
Yet, at least for now, I had only needed that little vitamin D capsule to get back in the groove.
Meanwhile during this time of struggle, I was in the kitchen section of some store (I can’t remember which), and I noticed a jar-opening device.
I’d never seen one like it. It’s hard to describe, but it is molded plastic shaped kind of like a huge bobby pin with cut outs like a four-level snowman – allowing space to insert several lid sizes.
I was skeptical, but it was only a few dollars and I thought it was worth a try.
Turns out the gripper is an awesome tool! My family soon noticed it in the utensil drawer and immediately became fans too.
If only every kitchen gadget was this handy and useful! I use it often, and I smile knowing it helps me get a grip.
To me, it’s become symbolic of the biggest tool that helps me get a grip on life: spending time developing my relationship with God.
The spaces for the various size lids remind me I should fit in prayer, Bible study, meditation and worship.
When we try to insert or substitute other things – and there are so many choices out there to tempt us – aches, pains and weakness are likely to soon result.
But when we purposefully take our daily dose, prescription even, of “sunshine” - time with God, our days begin to change.
Our burdens lighten as we turn them over to him. Joy can be seen and felt in our steps. Jars open more smoothly, and out of them, we can even serve others.
And just as my daily supplement notes that it combines calcium with vitamin D to help maximize calcium absorption needed for bone health, combining prayer time with reading God’s word helps maximize absorption needed for spiritual health.
I love the lyrics in Maren Morris’ hit song, The Bones:
“When the bones are good, the rest don’t matter/Yeah, the paint could peel, the glass could shatter/Let it rain ‘cause you and I remain the same/When there ain’t a crack in the foundation/Baby, I know any storm we’re facing/Will blow right over while we stay put/The house don’t fall when the bones are good.”
So don’t settle when things don’t feel right.
Don’t resign yourself to living the rest of your life miserably.
Next time you find yourself struggling to open a jar, banging it against the counter, running the lid under hot water and still finding yourself frustrated, remember there are tools waiting to help us get a grip and to strengthen our bones.
And when you discover them, like the loud, excited guy on those infomercials, you’re going to want to tell everyone the good news!
“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” - Isaiah 40:30-31
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” - Proverbs 17:22
Gina Moore, a news-editorial journalism major, has operated Marketplace Consignment Sale for 26 years and has worked part-time at Treasures. She also enjoys country cooking, reading and writing about motherhood, life on the farm and how God’s love and lessons surround residents.