“Growing up never ends.” Madeleine L’Engle suggests in her book “Walking on Water”.
What a poopy deal to awaken one day to discover that suddenly you had arrived at being “all done”, like some pot-roast in the oven.
Now there’s a strange thought…
My skin may resemble that of a pot roast, but inwardly I am far from “cooked”.
L’Engle writes, “I am sixty-one years old in chronology. But I am not an isolated, chronological numerical statistic. I am sixty-one, and I am also four, and twelve, and fifteen, and twenty-three, and thirty-one, and forty-five, and…and..and…if we lose any part of ourselves, we are thereby diminished. If I cannot be thirteen and sixty-one simultaneously, part of me has been taken away.”
I love her depth of insight! It sits well with me as I have been reckoning with my age and wondering how I arrived at the age of forty-seven.
If I view my life as a whole then every previous year of my life is part of my current age of forty-seven. All the years behind me have not disappeared, they have become part of me and give definition to who I am TODAY.
I was introduced to a store yesterday that I had not known existed, (one of THOSE store where everything “needed” to come home with me). I purchased a wooden wall plaque with the words, “Enjoy Life, This is Not a Rehearsal”.
These words stimulate desire within me to LIVE fully and they also appeal to the child within me, beckoning her to come out and play.
The apostle Paul teaching in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “So we do not lose heart. Though the outer self looks like a cooked pot roast”…oops, nope, that’s not what is written…try again…”Though the outer self is wasting away, our INNER SELF is being RENEWED DAY BY DAY.” What a message of hope to all of us as the number of our chronological years increase!
The word ‘RENEWED’ is further explained in Matthew Henry’s commentary: “the best of men (and women I add) have need of further renewing of the inward man, even day by day.”
As my numerical age increases I need to be reminded that inwardly I am “newer” than the year before. It should remind me of years that I have LIVED.
Yes, I said LIVED.
Jesus’ own words to us in John 10:10 teach us that He came so that we would have LIFE, and HAVE it ABUNDANTLY.
Are you LIVING?
Jesus also taught in Matthew 18:3, “Truly I say to you, unless you turn (change) and BECOME LIKE CHILDREN, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus is not teaching about childishness or immaturity, His teaching is about having the mindset of a child; The simple wonder and faith and humility of a child.
If I may quote L’Engle again: “to retain our childlike openness does not mean to be childish… to be able to be childlike involves memory; we must never forget any part of ourselves.”
Allow me to take you down a small fork from my main road of thought: I think that small children are kind of like puppies. Does a puppy hold a grudge? Does a puppy forget his rebuke with the first stroke of his master’s hand? I think small children have a similar redemptive memory. The first sign of love and the discipline is history! So if we are to become like little children, does that not then suggest that our minds should live FREE from mental chains of the past? What if our minds became a playground of and for the Holy Spirit? Lives filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit, fruit that includes JOY AND PEACE? (Gal.5:22).
Life is short, like a passing breeze.
It just may be a good idea to gather up your sum number of years, thank God for each year LIVED and then refuse to grow up!
Yay for adult childhood!
God grant to me a perpetual playful spirit of wonder and laughter!!