I have a new friend who I just adore. Anna Faye Dawson is 102 years old. She is the only centenarian I personally know and I wish you could ALL meet her! She inspires me to live life to the fullest and to challenge myself to keep trying new things.
She has survived two husbands, marrying for the second time at the age of 79. She talks fondly of her second husband’s large and loving family with whom she is still in contact and who she embraced and loved as her own.
At 92 Anna was still driving but after she moved to Little Rock to be with her daughter she says it was just easier for her daughter to take her places since she knew the city.
“Well, I never sat in a chair to rock and feel sorry for myself. I kept being with people, kept busy and kept having fun.”
Certainly not your typical one- hundred- year- old- plus- two, Anna is on the computer almost every day, has a facebook account ( she set it up initially to see pictures of her great grandkids), shops online and does much of her reading on her Kindle. She has a quick wit, is a great conversationalist and still has a wonderful memory. I am amazed by her.
When we were visiting together last week, I asked her what had kept her so young spirited and helped her maintain such a positive attitude. Her reply? “Well, I never sat in a chair to rock and feel sorry for myself. I kept being with people, kept busy and kept having fun.”
Busy indeed! Playing piano for her church for 45 years. Traveling. Entertaining friends . Sewing her own clothes. Making quilts up into her late 90’s. In fact, she is still part of her church’s quilting group. Residual effects of a mini stroke have left her with only partial use of her left hand but she still cuts the quilt squares and helps in other ways. And now that she can only play the piano with her right hand she says it’s not as much fun, but she can still play!
Another statement this little lady made struck a chord with me. When discussing how she had maintained her joy in the midst of various losses she said, “The Lord gives me joy of course, but I also never wished for a different life than the one I had.” Wise words. It reminded me of an older apostle Paul’s statement to his younger protégé, Timothy (1 Tim. 6:6), “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” Accepting and working with what we have rather than wishing for what we don’t results in a much more fulfilling existence.
Tomorrow is my birthday. The candles will number sixty-six. I love that I have a few older mentors in my life like my delightful friend, Anna, who inspire me to make every day count and who teach me that life is often what you make of it.
“The Lord gives me joy of course, but I also never wished for a different life than the one I had.”
In Psalm 90:12 we find this request, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” This is the only psalm attributed to Moses, the leader of the Israelites. After watching an entire generation squander 40 years worth of days wandering around in the dessert, I would imagine his prayer was not about actually numbering the days of one’s life but rather about approaching them with intention and purpose.
From a God whose days are numberless we can gain the wisdom to make each one of our numbered days meaningful. Looking at our lives from an eternal perspective helps us give more focus to the things that are truly important and less value to things that are insignificant. That is how I want to spend my days for sure!
From a God whose days are numberless we can gain the wisdom to make each one of our numbered days meaningful.
Knowing people like Anna Faye Dawson keeps me optimistic about the future. Samuel Ullman said, “Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”
May I be forever young!