“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well,” (3 John 1:2).

It is a sure sign of aging when your health insurance provider sends someone to your house to make sure you’re not dead!

Well, something like that. They did my first Medicare checkup, and the nurse practitioner was very impressed with everything, from my medicines (none) to my 15,000 steps per day to my 168 pounds to my BMI. But my favorite was the mental acuity test.

First, she gave me three random words to remember. Later, she asked what they were, in the middle of another question. It was too easy, because the words (‘cat,’ ‘baby’ and ‘house’) immediately made me think of our 1-year-old grandson playing with his cat in their Miami house. That’s an image that is impossible to shake.

After that, she asked me to draw a clock face—analog—representing ‘1:15.’ When I completed the task I said, “I’m sorry, but did you want that time to be a.m. or p.m.?” She didn’t think I was very funny at all.

The exercise made me wonder about health, and how we measure it. Is it about functionality, or something more? Are we surviving, or do we want to thrive? Where does our body end our soul begin? What is really important, moving forward? And what am I going to need, going into my next decade and beyond?

Because in my world now it is absolutely and unarguably p.m.

The good news is that while my mental acuity will one day reveal some slowing down, and my physical strength will eventually show signs or wear, my life with God can continue to thrive and to grow and become the strongest part of who I am.

And that is a good plan. Because finally—even though I will continue to thrive rather than simply survive—this life with God that is at the core of who I am is going to be all I need.

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Derek Maul
Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at www.derekmaul.wordpress.com.