As we sat down for a midday coffee, I realized the founding chairman of a small local company I was working with lived in a world he was comfortable with. Having lived in that era, I recognized the indicators.
Our conversations filled with words belonging to a vocabulary from a bygone era. He was articulate, his words reflecting an era where institutions, rulers, and tradition ruled. It took a quick memory search to put the metaphors and clichés into context. Once I did, I realized I was listening to a man filled with reflective wisdom.
His manners reflected a comfort with the status quo. Success has reinforced a pattern of behavior that existed when he first felt its touch. As our conversation progressed, I remembered others of that era who had touched my life. I found myself listening more intently. There was wisdom with this man.
As I began I bridge the gap between past and present, I realized that I had a unique opportunity to talk to him in a language he understand with an understanding of past and present. Many today do not know or understand the perspectives of the bygone era. I have come to appreciate contemporary wisdom because I can see how it can look different while remaining grounded in the same values and priorities that my forefather’s held close to their heart.
Each day is an opportunity to hear and see with fresh eyes. The aging man reminded me of a gift you and I have within us. We can step beyond the era we are comfortable with to see more. We can ask ourselves questions that lead us forward. Questions can start anywhere; “Why do you think people offer themselves to be baptized for those already in the grave? If there’s no chance of resurrection for a corpse, if God’s power stops at the cemetery gates, why do we keep doing things that suggest he’s going to clean the place out someday, pulling everyone up on their feet alive?” (1 Corinthians 15.29)
I want to see and hear.