I feel I should have some reflections on turning 89, but, in truth, I have been so immersed in Leona Choy and Jodi Picoult that I’ve had little time to reflect. Leona Choy turned 87 last month and she fascinates me! I wrote about Leona when I first heard about her and read her book as to why she became a Catholic after a lifetime of Protestant ministry. I’ve since read another of her books and surfed her blog,  and  even communicated with her personally. As Leona reports in her blog, she and I and Queen Elizabeth II were married in the same year, 1947. Leona’s 35th published book came off the press this spring and I’m fascinated by how prolific she has been and continues to be. I want to meet this lady. Unfortunately, she lives in Virginia and that is unlikely, but I am happy to have her as an online friend so we can compare notes on blogging and aging and our walk with Christ. She was almost eighty when she became a Catholic and her recent book, Living the Treasures in the Land of More is so spot-on that I consider it a must-read for anyone coming from another Christian denomination to Catholicity.

She writes:

Does Catholic spirituality consist primarily of rosary beads, crucifixes, laminated holy cards, a Saint Christopher medal in my pocket when I travel, or a holy water stoup at my front door? Is it the lighting of a Roman candle in a red glass holder at the back of the sanctuary, making the sign of the cross, or wearing medals of saint images on a chain around my neck? Perhaps a brown cloth scapular worn under my clothing or genuflecting toward the altar before I’m seated for Mass? Or novenas, feasts and fasts and solemnitieis, shrines and statues? The list seemed endless and complicated to me when I first encountered such things. Is this what its all about to be Catholic?

Protestant and evangelical spirituality seemed plain vanilla to me — become born again, read the bible, pray, and witness to your faith, and eventually go to heaven.

To one who is not “to the manner born,” what must it be like to enter the Catholic Church at 80? The barque of the Catholic church has, indeed, over its 2000 year history accumulated many barnacles that are part and parcel of its journey. Many sacramentals, many saints to meet, many readjustments in perspective. My online friend, a sister in Christ, another octogenarian, is so lucid and logical that she fascinates me. She has grandchildren, a big house, aging problems like all the rest of us. As she writes,

God’s calling to living for Him is for a lifetime so I keep pressing on while he gives me breath–which my diminished and compromised lungs do find in ever shorter supply now, but they are still adequate to keep up a brisk pace of active ministry and writing. I don’t plan to retire–what would I retire to that would be better than continuing to fulfill God’s will to the max, as long as he gives me earth-time?

And who is Jodi Picoult? She’s an author with enough clout to rate an Amazon.com page of her own. Also a bio in Wikipedia. She is the author of about twenty best-selling books, some of which have been made into movies. These past weeks I’ve been immersed in House Rules, about Asperger’s syndrome, what’s it’s like to live with it and what it does to a family.

If you’re looking for a page-turner just about any Jodi Picoult book will do.  She does not just write a novel but so delves into the scientific or esoteric aspects of her subject that you emerge both more informed and amazed at the depth of her delving.  I heartily recommend House Rules as both gripping and informative.

This EIGHTY-NINE entry is turning out to be quite a hodge-podge.  The very day of the birthday took on a life of its own right at the beginning and is recorded here.  Otherwise, I have also read Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words edited by Fr. Louis Kondor.  I loved this because Lucia’s memoirs tell about the daily and ordinary lives of the three children at Fatima.  Shepherding was an actual part of their daily lives and they would take the sheep to various fields on different days.  The older girls learned spinning and weaving and sewing.  Lucia’s report of the Marian apparitions and the effect they had on Jacinta and Francisco is detailed and when one reads about the penances they did to save souls one no longer wonders why such young children have been declared saints of the church.

It is time to put an end to this wandering post.  I am more scatterbrained, more easily distracted. Every once in a while I come across evidence that I have done something that I have no recollection of. My legs don’t want to move, especially in the hot weather (which we’ve had a lot of). (I know I shouldn’t end phrases with “of.” but I don’t care any more.) I don’t like the many, many choices available when I go to the grocery store. It strains my brain to have to decide which is more cost-wise and best value nutritionally.  I have had another facial lesion biopsied and will need further surgery for it.  I had my very first pedicure yesterday.  The days are so full of a number of things that I am jumbling them all up. Hopefully tomorrow will be more serene and orderly.

I took an online longevity calculator last week that told me I would live to be 101. In that light, eighty-nine seems hardly worth mentioning.

Queen Elizabeth II is only 86 but hopefully you will enjoy seeing her age gracefully as much as I did.