Last Monday, I went to my hometown to attend the funeral of a long-time neighbor. Frances was the wife of my fire chief, and they were like grandparents to me. Before the funeral, I heard my Dad in the other room muttering phrases of disgust. So I walked in the room and asked, “Pop, what’s the matter?” “I need to sew a button back on a dress shirt. But I can’t thread the $%#& needle.” So I said no problem, I can take care of that.
Yeah, right… it took me 5 minutes just to thread the needle! I obviously need to up the prescription on my bifocals, because they were no help. In desperation, I finally did something I saw “older” people do: I took off my glasses. By gosh, it worked. And while I got the needle threaded and got Dad’s button sewed on, I wasn’t exactly in the celebratory mood. It upset my Dad too. “I used to be able to do that,” he said. I knew exactly where he was coming from with that statement.
Today I am getting paperwork straightened out to buy a car: not for me, nor for my wife – but for my daughter. It doesn’t bother me that she will be driving a car, because she’s fairly mature and responsible. It doesn’t bother me that “my little girl is growing up” – I rejoice in her growing up and approaching adulthood. What bothers me is that I am old enough to be buying a car for my child. I don’t think it is vanity as much as it is shock. It is dawning on me that there may be fewer days ahead than there are behind in my life.
Yet what was it that the prophet Joel said?
I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit. - Joel 2:28-29It seems that God is never finished with us, even when we think we are finished or finishing. So instead of lamenting over our getting older, we should probably be embracing it. It may be that we are like wine that just continues to get better as we mature and age. God uses us, teaches us, molds and makes us into the disciples and disciplers that He wants us to be.
Let’s count every birthday. Celebrate each year that God has granted us the gift of life. It is not a curse – it is a blessing, and we are a blessing to others.