I Don’t Need Your Rocking Chair

I’ve still got neon in my veins.  When I look in the mirror, I can tell that I have changed, but it is more apparent to me when I look at old photos.  There can be no doubt that the outer man is perishing.  Inwardly, however, I feel the same as I ever did.  I’m not saying that some of my ideas are not refined from my rough cut days only that a lot of my basic viewpoints and desires persist.  In speaking to a 94 year old man many years ago, he told me, “I know I’m old, but I don’t feel old.”  I’m learning now what it means to have yearnings betrayed by the body.  At the same time, I am capable of being lifted by the dreams of a young man, and, occasionally, feel downright persnickety.

There is a sense in which aging focuses a person.  I have always felt that was the case (even in years gone by), but I saw it in myself when I went back to school for my advanced degree (told ya).  Now, I’ve always been a good student as you might imagine, but I was calmer and more methodical in my studies as an older person.  One reason for this may have been that my teachers were more peers than anything else.  Another was that I already had a girlfriend.  In any case, I did good.  It’s the same sort of thing that I have observed in seasoned men and women in the normal course of other endeavors.  They win their races by steady progress, prioritizing and ignoring distractions.     

I have hoped that I would be one of those who ages well.  Not that I’d like the moniker of “well- preserved,” but I hope to preserve something.  It is not easy to decline with grace when the loss of grace is a part of the decline.  All of life is a trade-off, and we find that one area increases as another diminishes.  Some have said that youth is wasted on the young.  While I understand that point, the Bible indicates that there are phases of life with accompanying strengths and weaknesses.  The life we live is not the life of the Garden, but there are remnants of perfection in each stage of living.  We should not give up on life while in the process.  To do so is to squander the gift of God.

This grey hair don’t mean a thing.  Many things I wanted to accomplish in my youth weren’t that big a deal.  I say that purely from the perspective of having completed some of them to find them not as grand as I’d hoped.  From the current view, I see with dimmed eyes perhaps greater worth to pursue with the time I have left.  And the fire still burns.  The latter years may exceed the former as the trappings of greener times fall away.  It’s easier to think today though it is also easier to lose a train of thought.  In some ways, the things that really matter have become clearer to me even though evidence of the Fall is also clearly seen.  Don’t count me out just because my “minutes played” has decreased. 

Scripture tells us that the inward person can be renewed daily.  In our thermodynamic world, there is an inexhaustible supply of hope and vitality for the spirit.  Jesus told the woman at the well that He could give her a spring of living water welling up within.  Those of us who have accessed the life of Christ through trust in Him know it’s true.  Though we diminish, life in the Spirit never dims.  It shines ever brighter to the full day, and there is no point at which we become less vibrant or useful to God.  Changes are sure to come, but the real meaning and essence of life is always there.  No one is useless to God, and the best of our lives are perhaps not actualized and yet to be. 

Sterl

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