Young, Old, Or In-Between

By Joseph J. Mazzella • September 3, 2021

This life is full of amazing things. Things we can’t truly understand. Things we just have to embrace. I saw one of these things just today. I was in the grocery store picking up a few odds and ends. As I approached the cashier I noticed the person in front of me. His back was bent and he walked with a shuffle. He was no Hollywood 50. He was more like a real world 85. His ears and nose were long and shriveled. What was left of his hair was as white as the snow. His short, thick fingers were twisted with arthritis. The skin on his face was cracked, damaged, and leathery. His jowls sagged and even his wrinkles had wrinkles. In the eyes of the world he looked tired, old and ugly.

As soon as he slowly finished counting out the money for his groceries, though, a miraculous change took place. He smiled and joked with the cashier and they both laughed. His laughter sounded like sweet music. The wrinkles on his face suddenly turned into a hundred laugh lines. His eyes sparkled with delight. He turned to me and shared his smile and when he did I could see his soul shining through. It was the youngest, most beautiful and vibrant soul I had seen in a long time. In that second he seemed more 9 than 90. In that moment I saw that while his body might be showing its years, his soul was eternally young. I could tell too that even with his body still here on earth his heart was already in Heaven.

There is a wonderful paradox with aging. Some people can look young and healthy on the outside but be old and beaten down on the inside. Other people can look old and worn out on the outside but still be young and vital within. Most of us fall somewhere in-between.

I truly believe, however, that the key is Love. Time will eventually age all our bodies, but whether we grow old on the inside is a choice. We can choose to live in fear, anger, and hatred and watch our souls shrink and shrivel. Or we can choose to live in love, joy, and compassion and keep our souls forever young. It doesn’t matter if we are nine, nineteen, or ninety. We are all Children of God. May you always live with the love of a child. May you always live with your heart in Heaven. And may you be young for a very very long time.

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