As a person gets older things change. By things, I am referring to my body.
When I was young, I never gave a thought to what it would be like when I got old. I was too busy enjoying my being young. What young person wants to waste their time thinking about what they are going to be when they are old?
However, as a person gets older there is more time to think about things. To think about your health and strength and is it time to go to bed yet?
I can remember as a young person my parents had to wrestle me into my bed to go to sleep at night.
I never wanted to go to bed; I wanted to stay up all night and watch TV.
I tried to think of many reasons not to go to bed when I was younger.
Now that I’m older, I’m trying to think of many reasons TO go to bed early.
The problem is it is not feasible to go to bed when the sun hasn’t set yet.
“Is it time to go to bed?” I queried the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.
Looking at me she simply said, “Has the sun set yet?”
I understood what she was saying and it is hard to say that the sun has set when it is still light outside. For this reason, I like a very cloudy afternoon when it hides the sun. It is so dark that I’m trying to convince my wife that it must be time to go to bed because it’s dark outside.
I must not be a very good salesman because my wife never buys what I’m trying to sell.
So, sitting in my easy chair thinking about stuff like this, I often get a little bit discouraged. What I’m thinking about is the fact that I cannot do what I used to do when I was young.
“What are you,” my wife said one afternoon, “so gloomy about today?”
“You know,” I said very sadly, “I just can’t do what I used to do when I was young.”
I remember all the fun times I had when I was young. It seems I had more energy than I could waste in one day. Now, I don’t seem to have that kind of energy.
My wife got us coffee and came, sat down in the living room with me, and was just quiet for a few moments.
Then she said, “Sure, there’s a lot of things you can’t do that you did when you were young.” She snickered after she said that and then said, “Why don’t you think about the things you can do now that you couldn’t do then?”
As far as I was concerned, there was nothing on that list. I know many people have what they call the
“Bucket List” but I certainly don’t have such a list. My list only contains things that I used to do that I can’t do now. I cannot do them now because of the time element and my energy or lack thereof.
“Don’t worry about what you can’t do,” she explained. “Focus on some of the things that you can do and that you enjoy doing.”
That was a real challenge for me. I never thought of it that way before. I was willing to give it a try though.
“Remember how you acted when you were young?”
That got me thinking. I do remember when I was young I could not sit still for very long. I had to be up doing something all the time. I could not walk, I had to run. I would run so vigorously that when I got home, I would collapse in exhaustion.
I cannot do that now, but what I can do is pace myself out so that I do not collapse in exhaustion.
When I was young, I didn’t have any excuses or didn’t try to think of any. Now that I am older, I do have some good excuses.
“I can’t do that, I don’t have the energy, I’m too old.”
“I’m sorry; my memory isn’t quite like it used to be.”
I now have a lot of excuses that I didn’t have that can beneﬁ t me. When young, I was too proud to say I couldn’t do something. Now that I am old, my pride has disappeared and it is easy for me to say that I cannot do something.
My wife and I discussed this and at the very end, she looked at me and said, “What’s that smile all over your face?”
I had to explain to her that she got me to thinking in the right direction. I never thought I could do certain things, but now I have the time to do them. There are books that I have always wanted to read; now I have the time to read them.
I always wanted to just sit and relax in my chair and dream about the impossible dream. Now that I am older, I can do that and nobody objects, particularly me.
I am beginning to understand what Jesus said. “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).
I cannot relive my past, but I certainly can enjoy the work that is before me for the glory of God.
[The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, in Ocala, Florida. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The church web site is www. whatafellowship.com.]