Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Tea

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot

A few months ago, I moved the glass cake server with the heavy domed lid from the above corner to the dining area.  It suddenly dawned on me (sometimes I can be slow to change) that this object was taking up a lot of counter space when I no longer baked as I once did.

So, in its' place between the butter dish and the cut glass mini pitcher that holds a collection of teaspoons... I placed my pretty cookbook holder with a cardboard backed Mary Englebright picture I once had propped on a shelf in the tiny bathroom. 

It is quite timely as I've been shaking myself from the doldrums, making every attempt to set aside that feeling of "the best days are behind me".  I view the date on the calendar marked "Brenda" (it used to say Mom until the only person needing a reminder is Hubby) which announces the truth of another birthday.

But ummm... whose truth... what truth?

Why would I think the best days are in the past when only God holds our days in His hands and the Word says He promises hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)?

Now, I do know the George Eliot quote has limitations.  One in their 30s could not become a ballerina when most dancers begin in childhood.  But in a world that is not "all or nothing" one could very well learn more about the ballet and become an informed patron of dance.  If it is dancing you love, ballroom dancing classes are springing up everywhere due to the popularity of TV shows.

In further ponderings about our giftings and such, I've been thinking of those things I either 1) once did long ago, or 2) always wanted to do.  Those skills one could reasonably still attain even with many years now lived on the planet.

At one time I painted (canvas... not walls) and was fairly good at it.  Even my quite critical father-in-law thought a birthday card (or was it Father's Day?) I painted for him was lovely.  I think I mentioned somewhere within the past years that I gave up painting for enjoyment due to a wickedly critical high school teacher who turned art from joy to painful memories.

I rather doubt I'll paint again but it does remind me that I love creating and that one is never too old to take up a new hobby or dust off an old skill. 

I have prayed about all of these ponderings, asking for wisdom as passion meets ability and budget. They are something like mixing oil and water!  But He answers, He always does if we listen and look for what He is saying.

In our youth oriented culture, once one reaches their twenties they are considered too old to learn at times.  Also in a culture where most learning has been accomplished in schools that are highly structured... where now most of the teaching is for doing well on a test... no wonder we think once we graduate from high school or college our learning is done.

I love to read history and biography and one learns quickly that great men and women who came before us considered learning a life long accomplishment, mostly through the reading of books.

Also, as was touched upon on a recent Saturday post, people in past generations learned the basics of cooking, baking, sewing, gardening, carpentry, etc. from growing up in homes where these skills were often necessary for survival.  Today one can live to be a hundred and never sew on a button, bake their own bread, or grow vegetables.

So what if one is twenty, or thirty, or seventy, or ninety... and there is a passion for learning a skill that has laid dormant for years... perhaps decades?  If it is doable... do it.  Stop thinking about doing it or wishing you had started when you had a chance... get over the fear of learning curves (a challenge I admit to feeling)... and do it.

Perhaps you already have basic skills and it is time to take them to another level.  For instance, I bake cupcakes but Stephanie creates... Art.  :)

Edith Schaeffer wrote that her mother didn't learn to sew until she was much older and it became necessary to clothe her family.  She learned all she could and through trial and error was able to not only sew beautiful garments but to redesign old outfits to make a brand new creation.

I will continue pondering this week as I think through what it is I'd love to accomplish that I have not... given imitations of health and budget. How about you?  Is there a latent burning passion or talent that has been buried for years?

If it is a true God given gift and something one can reasonably accomplish... you can do it... or you can learn all you can and become an expert (for instance, if it is too late to become a ballerina).  :)

As for me, I have a reminder sitting on my kitchen counter that it truly is "never too late".


Thickethouse.wordpress said...

So much truth in this post, Brenda...And with the www these days, if one has a passion for learning it is incredibly what resources are available....Practicing an art can be so healing. I'm trying to make more time in my own life for this. And for doing crafts with my grandchildren, and for thinking of more things to do. Once I had hardly a free moment and now I have nearly too many. But I hope not to waste them.

Anonymous said...


I think you wrote this just for me today. I have been feeling at loose ends as my empty nest approaches. There are some skills I want to learn, but I fear the learning curve. Too much actually.

Thank you so much for the encouragement. :)

Lori in PA

Vee said...

Maybe I'll pirouette through Glory. Ha! Actually, even if one lives to be the oldest person on earth, it doesn't compare with Eternity. I think we'll be doing amazing things. In the meantime, I can feel quite defeated by my limitations in talent, time, and money. Yes, I have a few desires...whether they'll come to pass or not remains to be seen.

Nancy said...

I love this, Brenda. My last daughter just moved out and has moved into an apartment with two other Christian friends. The other two have just graduated from Bible college in Omaha, Nebraska are are working there now. So, people keep asking me "what now?" I tell them that I can't believe that God is finished with me just because my daughters are raised and gone. Yes, that was my "career" and my passion for many years, but I'm only 58. Surely, God has great things still in store for me. That's a long way of saying that this was very encouraging for me to read. Thank you. I, too, am looking for new adventures and new passions!

Glenda said...

Hi Brenda,

Your blog is always inspiring; thank you. It seems, even though in our mid 60's, we are always working around the house or garden.

I love to sew and would love to make clothes, but never mastered clothing. I would love to do this and my grand daughter recently told me she wanted to learn to sew, so she could upcycle clothing.

Thank you for this post. You are right - one is never too old to learn or to return to what one enjoys.

Brenda Leyland @ Its A Beautiful Life said...

What a great reminder.. it's never to late to begin.

And when we listen to the 'lie' that the best is behind us, we're actually living in the past, aren't we?

I've been gathering up some of my 'once loved' passions and bringing them up for light and re- examination. For me, music and playing -- and composing music at the piano again is one of those past passions that I've brought into my present. And I've so enjoyed the freedom that comes with it. Not to mention the joy.

Nana said...

Hi Brenda;
Again, what a lovely post! And so encouraging!! I have decided to "re-do" my hallway, living room, and dining room. Take down wallpaper and paint. Thank goodness for help from my family! What a great incentive you are for me. I always look forward to reading your posts. Have a Great Sunday Love and Hugs. Nana

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the encouraging ideas here. Hubby retired last year and we began in earnest to learn another language...well, it is struggle every week, but the teacher is good and patient and we are not graded!! We at least know more than we did before we began!! There are other things we are pondering doing too...time will tell. But so long as we have life we should use it as well as we can. Keep us posted on what you decide or are shown to do.

Elizabeth now in WA

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...


As I age (I'll be 50 this year) I can sometimes think that the best of my life is past. But it so so not true!

You are right that God has given us our appointed time, and He has given us things we are interested in learning or improving in or just trying something new.

I figure I could live into my 90's based on family genetics so I am likely only at the half way point, and I am glad!


Anonymous said...

This is such a timely post for me.....Much food for needed thought. At 66 I am dealing with some health issues that sap energy and have helped along a spiral into a rather grey place. Add to that, a relationship dilemma that I fear to address with my husband, and a prayer life that is flat and dry.....a prayer life that is usually my joy and sustenance......and I too feel that the best is behind me and I am going through the motions. Your post brought tears.....and a nudge to positive action. Thank you for your honesty in sharing. Helen

Alva Lee said...

Although I've read your column for quite a while, I've not commented until now. I'm 72 and my continuing request is, "Let me finish well, Lord. Help me finish well." Finishing well for me means to write the family stories for the next generation. Our daughter-in-law is pregnant with a baby girl and I realize I will probably not live to see her graduate from high school. I want her to know her family's spiritual history--not only how we came to be in this country but how we came to our faith. My only creativity is with words and I hope to use them well until the end. Thanks for your encouragement.

Deb said...

Hi Brenda, as usual I'm catching up and saw this post. It's a good one and very encouraging for me to keep on keeping on! In my mind there are so many things I still want to my body it often seems impossible. But the Lord gives strength, and I constantly need to trust Him. Thanks for a delightful post as always.