I’m not sure exactly when it happened. I don’t think it was even one specific event but somewhere in my past, probably between my fifties and sixties, I moved from one expectation or focus to another.
When you’re young, you always have tomorrow. You seemingly have all the time you need to change course, to realign your goals, to correct a deficiency, to regroup. But at some point in your life you become aware that time is not your friend, that things you plan usually take a lot longer to make happen than you originally estimated. And you also become aware that so many things are connected, understanding yourself and others is not nearly as easy as you thought it was and nothing appears to be easy anymore.
And there are always those loose ends, things you meant to do but never got around to doing. Sure, you did focus on some and accomplished them but the key word there is “some”. I’m sure you have all heard that old saying, “Youth is wasted on the young.” What we’re talking about here is energy, positive attitude, zest for life.
I think I “peaked” in my fifties, that was the time frame when I became aware of, in a meaningful kind of way, what I could do and what I couldn’t do. I learned that I was able to achieve, especially from a professional perspective, and it was more than I originally thought in my youth. My understanding about other professionals also peaked, and how we humans interact with one another became meaningful and enjoyable. But, interestingly enough, it is during this same time period that I also became aware of my own deficiencies, they were much more engrained than I originally thought and the level of effort and honesty required in fixing them was far in excess of what I had originally thought. And, just to make it interesting, the reality of my own inability to understand and correct them became much more apparent.
As I look back in retrospect, my fifties and early sixties were the years where I really learned what I was capable of and where my shortfalls were. And then, when I turned sixty, I got a wake up call. I had cancer and I was told that my chance of being alive in five years was approximately 17% and that was after they did surgery. It is amazing how your perspective changes when something like that happens to you. It was very emotional and the shortness of available time took on a whole new focus. That’s when what really matters comes to the surface, that’s where the lessons of life that you have learned become reprioritized very quickly. What you though you understood and what you know you didn’t understand become much clearer.
I watched a video last night where Nabeel Qureshi, who recently passed away from stomach cancer, spoke about his fight with cancer, how he had been given time to create memories with his parents, fellow Christians and his wife and child and the difference between the pain and suffering he was going through compared with what Jesus went through on the cross. If you’ve never watched his videos, check out youtube.com and watch some. I really miss him.
My bout with cancer was nothing compared to what Nabeel went through but it brought back memories of what crystallized in my mind and my heart during my wake up call. Our tomorrows are not guaranteed, we assume without knowing and we plan without being privy to what will happen next.
I think I have always believed in God, but believing in God and asking Jesus to be your Lord and Saviour are not one and the same thing. Faith or trust in God is so valuable because when we come face to face with our own mortality, the reality of God and His ability to meet our deepest needs, are beyond what words can adequately express. The thing is, if you’ve never sought Him out, if you’ve never taken the time to establish and maintain a relationship with Him before you come face to face with your own mortality, it leaves precious little time to begin.
We know that God is a Spirit and we know that Jesus, God’s Son became a human and walked this earth and now sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. But we are here now on this physical earth and God the Father and Jesus are in Heaven where God is. As believers, we do have God’s Holy Spirit within us and so we are not alone but …. sometimes, sometimes, I have needed that physical contact with God, like a hug.
In a previous post entitled “Through a Glass Darkly” I relate how I asked God for a hug one morning while in prayer. Take the time to read it because for me, it is one of the most precious memories I have of how God hears our prayers and answers the cries of our hearts.
My walk with God has been haphazard, numerous hills and valleys, and I wish I could say that it hasn’t been so, but that is the truth. Like so many things, be it marriage, raising children, learning to put my own wants to the sideline and focusing on others, in my youth and that includes my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, I knew nothing (and I am being kind to myself). Yet God, through His patience and Grace, managed to break through to me, at given times and moments, that created a union with Him that grew over time. Now that I am in my 70’s, I am oh so grateful for all that I have experienced and how my heart rests in Him. It’s never easy to not have that face to face connection with God but I know that is coming.
Enjoy your youth but understand that youth, like all things, quickly fades away and becomes something similar to looking in a rear view mirror, it is gone before you know it and yet there is so much more ahead of you to learn, about yourself and especially about our loving God.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!