Use It or Lose It!

August 29, 2018 0 By Donna Wuerch

My mother, when she was 94 (now graduated to heaven), would tell her doctor: “There are mornings when I just don’t want to get out of bed because everything hurts too much!” And her doctor’s response was: “When you stop forcing yourself to get out of bed, is when you’ll be bedridden. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!”

Remembering those doctor’s words, the more I realize how precious life is and how much I want to live it like Jesus said in John 10:10 “I came to give you life and life more abundantly!” The older I get, the more I see the aging process going on in this sleek body 😉 but I’m feeling it, too! Just recently I’ve started swimming 10 laps (1 lap = 150 feet) a day, most days a week because the running I had been doing for years was taking a toll on my joints and the swimming is proving to keep my joints flexible. Now, I know what not to eat because of the after-effects that come from “that” food choice. I know how to sleep so that I don’t wake with a crick in my neck. I know what shoes to wear to prevent foot issues. I know that I not only need to floss my teeth, but I need to use a water pik flosser as well. I know that I need to moisturize this face and body to keep it smooth and hydrated. I know I need to take food supplements to keep me healthy. I know I need to stay out of the sun unless I’ve applied heavy sunscreen! I know I need to drinks lots of water! Whew!
I also know I need to keep using my mind. I know how easy it is to watch mindless TV and use my computer for answers to questions, calculator for counting, as well as use my phone to play mindless games and activities. Once upon a time, when I wanted information, I used my encyclopedia or lose myself in the library. Before email, if I wanted to write to someone, I had to invest some effort in it. I’d sit down with pen and paper, or at a typewriter, and carefully compose a message. There wasn’t anything that lent itself to dashing off quick notes without giving them much thought, and then take the time to write a note, find an address, an envelope, add postage, and take the letter to a mailbox. Because the very act of writing a note or letter to someone took this many steps and was spread out over time, we didn’t go to the trouble unless we had something important to say. Because of email’s instantaneous “send” click, we get that message off in a split-second….and sometimes we realize we forgot to send the attachment or even sent it to the wrong person or persons – and, oops – I really didn’t mean to say “Have a green date!” I meant to say “Have a great day!” in that text.

My sweet mother-in-law (96 in October) has some health issues and has slowed down from the over-active and busy gal that she once was. Now she lives with my sister-in-law because she’s incapable of living alone any more. But her mind is still brilliant. She still does filing and checking purchase orders for my sis and bro-in-law’s business that they run out of their home. I always go spend some quality time with her when I go to Tulsa. She has all the excuses she would need to not remember I came by or to not call me regularly. But she’s on point to call me to see if I’m doing okay. Her humor is still intact. On my birthday, she called to say that she was celebrating me by eating yogurt and drinking coffee. She’s hilarious without even trying. And she remembers so much – well, not so much the meal she had for lunch, but the childhood friends she had and the baseball team she played on, complete with details about her home runs.

Why am I saying all this? Maybe it’s because of my recent birthday and the continual reminder to keep active and doing things that matter – especially taking the time to show others that they matter. It’s so easy to make a phone call to a friend to catch up, but “stuff” gets in the way and we never make that call. It’s easy to send a quick text message with emoticons instead of saying the words “I love you.” It’s so easy to send an email when someone really needs to know that we thought about them enough to send a handwritten letter or card.

Maybe it’s time we use our brains for reading more, researching more, writing more and good old arithmetic more AND even using our brains for stretching our faith to believe more. “Whatever a man thinks in his heart – so is he” Proverbs 23:7. Mom and I both know our limitations these days but we both do what we can because we know “Use it so we don’t lose it!”