The Dancing Puritan

Friday, July 26, 2013

No Country for Old Men

Yesterday I received my first ever senior-citizen-discount.  I got $1 off of a $5 admission to the Marine Center near Daytona Beach, Florida. For some strange reason it seemed exciting, a sort of distinguishing mark of maturity. On the other hand it was a bit humorous because 51 is not that old, or is it?

Folks often refer to guys my age as middle-age. In reality it is not likely middle but three-quarters age (unless I live to be 102, which is not likely). Of course the truly elderly would smirk if they heard me say that I am a senior-citizen.  The reality is, I have changed.  Yesterday I told the wife-of-my-youth that the world looks different to me now. Something has changed. Either I have changed or the world has changed. The world is basically the same as it has always been. It must be that I see the world differently now and it feels different.

I am not what I once was in all sorts of ways. That is good on some level but in other ways it does not feel so good. I suppose that I am wiser but I still struggle with some of the same sins of my youth. I imagine that I am smarter but knowledge is way to fast for me to keep up with. Added to the fact that knowledge travels at the speed-of-light is the fact that I find myself forgetting things that I once knew (or at least struggling to bring them to mind).

I am tired and weary of various challenges. I know that they are light in comparison with the struggles of others and in view of the eternal weight of glory that awaits me in Christ. Yet they are still my challenges. My mantra of late is, I want to finish well. I want to finish in a fruitful manner. I want the last lap of my four lap course to be the best of all. I am taking some steps to try and cultivate a final lap of fruitfulness.

Yet, increasingly it seems, that this world has little use for old folks. Our world is cozy with the younger crowd and constantly speaks of their hopes and dreams. The young have an energy and in some cases an ambition that is stronger than the waves of the ocean and more refreshing. Yet the young are getting older and it is obvious that the elderly are marginalized and shuffled to the periphery. There is no country for old men. Too many in the old-guy-army have contributed to the cultural mindset. They have left their posts, fallen into gross sin, or have bought in to the mindset that they must live out their days shuffling their feet and feeling sorry for themselves. There is something strikingly unmanly about abandoning one's family as the years go on or in sitting passively as the world goes by.

I wonder. What can an older guy bring to the table?

Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12).
The righteous flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him (Psalm 92:12-15). 

It is possible (and expected?) that the godly man will never stop bearing fruit, that he can be ever full of sap and green even in old age. As the godly man ages he should be fruitful until the ax falls and the tree crashes down. And when the tree falls, even then, it makes an impact.

This world is different to me at age 51.5. Nothing seems quite the same. Joys are tempered. Sorrows keep me earth-bound. I suppose perspective is sharpened. Smiles are appreciated but temporary.  Longings intensify for that place where I will see Jesus face-to-face. He will finally grant to me a depth of joy that never fades. What I must remember today is that he is present with me here and now.