“…He said to him (to Peter) the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?’ Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know all things; You know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.’ This he spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he said to him, ‘Follow me.’” (Jn 21: 17-19)
As we age, in Christ, we are increasingly called to nurture others; to “feed” His “sheep,” by witnessing from and to the little storage-house of experience and wisdom we’ve accumulated along the Way. Our God-given, “motherly” calling/vocation, to be nurturing, gets stronger, as we age, while – ironically, perhaps, – our merely-human desire, as we advance in age, is to relax and be left to do “our own thing” in our retirement. Because, as we grow in experience on our cross-carrying journeys, we also grow in an awareness of the smallness of our “experience” and “wisdom,” so we have a healthy kind of self-doubt as to our usefulness for others. Nonetheless, God begins to use us in ways we “do not wish,” when we are “old” and self-aware enough to recognize our limitations.
As we age and are brought to places and situations we “do not wish,” let us humbly witness to our hope, love, and faith in Christ, in the small or big ways we are called to do. “Lord, You know all things,” I say to our Lord today, Who knows my failings and shortcomings, as He knew those of His disciples. “You know that I love You,” and follow You, wherever You choose to let me be carried, Your imperfect servant.