“Peri” in the medical world means “preparing to” or “transitioning” from one thing to the next. For example, if your doctor says that you are in peri-menopause, that means your body is preparing to enter menopause. Hot flashes begin; and because of the hot flashes, sleep problems begin; and mood changes ramp up.
Here in the South, we don't have "peri." Instead, we have "fixin' to." If you’re peri-menopausal up North, you're fixin' to go into menopause in the South.
So if “peri” means fixin' to, and I'm fixin' to be elderly, then I can only conclude that I’m peri-elderly. I'm fixin' to be a part of the social strata that can be helped across the street by a nice Boy Scout, go to the Depends aisle instead of the Kotex aisle, get a free iced tea (in a very small cup) at McDonald's, or buy a whole dinner for $5.99 on Wednesdays and Sundays at Capt. D's. Yay for me.
Well, yay for the baby boomers, actually. We've made it to peri-elderly or just flat out elderly (which, by definition, is always two years away, no matter how old I am).
I sometimes go into the city jail on Monday nights to talk to the female inmates about God's love for them. I use stories and a little handout with a Bible verse and picture to help them remember my point.
The girls are so young. The oldest I've seen was a woman in her 40's. One girl, who looked much younger than she was, told me that she had a baby that was 6 months old. Six months. And his mother is in jail. Her aunt is keeping the baby for her until she can "get straightened out." She said she would be in our city jail for another 20 days, but another jail had a hold on her, meaning she would go to that jail and serve time for whatever law(s) she broke in that part of the county.
I look at their faces; each one a child of God, each one troubled, missing loved ones, maybe regretting what put them there or at least regretting they got caught. And I look at myself, and I see not a peri-elderly woman, but a little old lady from church, coming from a world they have probably never known. That's who I am in their eyes.
In order to speak to them, I have to find some common ground or they won't listen at all. I remember years ago our church had a women's retreat at a nearby church camp. We even had a guest speaker who taught Bible lessons throughout the weekend. At some point, this woman (who I would have categorized as peri-elderly at the time) said that God had blessed her so powerfully that she had never been tempted by anything, such as alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes. Never? Really? I don't think I heard a word past that point. How could I relate to someone like that? I had been tempted and had tried lots of un-Christian type things, including all of the above.
So I try to find common ground. At first I didn't think I would be able to. What could I possibly have in common with young women who had such a different lifestyle from my own? I prayed. This is what I received:
I'm a mother – so are a lot of them.
I'm a wife – so are a lot of them.
I'm a woman – the most obvious common ground there is.
I've dealt with depression, anxiety, an extremely strong-willed child, a husband with a life-threatening condition, my father passed away last year, I've been betrayed by people I thought were either friends and/or trustworthy…
Well, you get the picture. All I need to do is pick something out of my life, tell them about it, and tell them how God was in it. Thank you, Lord, for my stories. It's how I connect.
So what if I'm peri-elderly and look every day of it? God loves all of us and I'm there to prove it.
And when did we see You sick or in prison and came to visit You? And the King will reply to them, Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least of these, My brethren, you did it for Me.
|My Best Side|
Courtesy of 2-yr-old grandson