By Awara Fernandez
When I am Old
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple With a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me, And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter. I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired, And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells, And run my stick along the public railings, And make up for the sobriety of my youth. I shall go out in my slippers in the rain And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens, And learn to spit. You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat, And eat three pounds of sausages at a go, Or only bread and pickle for a week, And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats and things in boxes. But now we must have clothes that keep us dry, And pay our rent and not swear in the street, And set a good example for the children. We will have friends to dinner and read the papers. But maybe I ought to practice a little now? So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised, When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple!
Purple has always been my favorite color, so I was drawn to Jenny Joseph’s whimsical poem “When I Am Old” in which she is looking ahead to her reward, hard-earned through sacrifice and self-denial, and this longing is a good longing! But, I thought, what if we reframed the scene, expanding our perspective so that we see not only our time here in this world but also look ahead to our lives in Eternity. This broadening of our horizons strengthens us to live confidently, boldly, and quietly in the assurance that we don’t have to grasp at our rewards, living as orphans do, because our inheritance will be given to us by our loving Father. We can trust that as we live in God glorifying ways now, ways which are full of both hardship and delight, He is going to share His glory with us later (2 Thessalonians 2:14), and we will all be surprised at the final transformation of creation!
Now I am Old
Now I am old Old enough to start reading fairy tales again And I am wearing purple Purple glasses to aid my weary eyes Purple suitcases for my Nana travels Purple pen to press deep magic deep into my soul And instead of a red hat Which doesn’t go And definitely doesn’t suit me A silver crown of curls announces me as Pusher of swings Builder of castles Reader of stories I set a good example for my children Splashing in puddles in the rain Stooping to marvel at flowers pushing up through asphalt Saving turtle shells and abandoned bird’s nests as treasure I definitely am practicing now So that people who know me Are not too shocked and surprised When suddenly I am arrayed in royal robes of purple Shimmering with Light Crowned with a silver diadem Pulsing with Glory
About the Author
Awara Fernandez lives in Georgia with her husband of 34 years and their rescue dog Gonzo. They have 6 children and 7 grandchildren.