I grew up with the idea that old people were slow, teetering, and on the verge of collapse. When I was eight, twenty seemed ancient. By the time university came, old was moving towards forty-five. When I passed my third decade, sixty seemed to be the new fence. As I look back and forward in my fifth decade, I cannot imagine any age in particular as old. With each age, some things slow while others strengthen. My resolve is stronger than at anytime in my life. My ability to endure is greater than I ever imagined. Some steps may have slowed; deliberation has its benefits as well.
I wonder how deep we have buried misconception. Do I think of God as old? Do I associate the extremes of aging with people in general? I don’t think so, but am I biased and bigoted when it comes to others (personal denial always runs deep)?
As I look around me, from retirement age rockers still touring, to marathoners in the eighties, to tri-athletes young and old, it is clear; age is a state of mind. Even those who cannot physically do what they did when they were younger often excel in areas that defy my understanding. Great artists, writers, and thinkers exist across all age groups. The question seems not to be one of age but of will.
Do I have the will do act? Am I willing to act? Can I muster the willingness to engage, even when things are ugly?
The questions are relevant, to each in every age. When I read about Divinity in action I find myself challenged. “Look at him! God, the Master, comes in power, ready to go into action. He is going to pay back his enemies and reward those who have loved him. Like a shepherd, he will care for his flock, gathering the lambs in his arms, hugging them as he carries them, leading the nursing ewes to good pasture.” (Isaiah 40.10, 11)
Life is about making a difference in the lives you and I are able to touch.
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