It seems like one day you’re sailing along and enjoying all life has to offer and then suddenly you and your friends are planning your 50th class reunion. The question on everyone’s mind is…..what happened to the years? When we graduated, we felt like the whole world was ahead of us. We had planned to make a difference and change the world. We planned to do it in our own way, and some of us felt we did not need the advice of our elders. We may make our own mistakes, but we would also blaze our own trail. If we went to college, those thoughts, often reinforced by well-meaning professors became part of our pride and in some cases arrogance. And the beat goes on with the generations after us.
Adapt the Pace of Nature
Now it takes us longer to walk a mile in our own shoes, leave alone make a difference in the world. Our interests have changed from traveling the world with a backpack to saving for a luxury cruise. We check our investments instead of checking out the nearest rock concert. Instead of aspiring to plant seeds of greatness, we cultivate our gardens and flowerbeds noticing the beauty of the details of nature. We see we are on the other side of the generation gap and wonder how we crossed the great divide without knowing it.
This past week has shown me more than any other time that I’ve crossed the bridge. My stepsister has been calling me old for years because I love to knit and she saw that as an old person’s hobby. I suppose it can be, but I never thought of it as being old. I felt more creative and practical. I think ‘old’ is a way of thinking. The idea that we know the best way to do things. WE have found the path and absolute truth of life. The difference we have made is the difference the world was looking for. Admit it, we do.
Every generation gets their chance to make a difference, and that’s good because the world is always changing. We need new ideas to keep it turning. But what I have been noticing is the striving of the younger generations. The competition to be the first or the best in whatever they do. The hiding behind degrees or positions to keep their confidence that comes across more like arrogance intact. I know we were like that too. In fact, I have a classmate that admits she has too many degrees
We made our mistakes and did our best to self-correct them. I know I did. I could have learned a few things from my elders and probably did if I remembered what they said. But in my conversations with the younger generation, I noticed an inner peace in myself I had not noticed before. I have moved past needing to be seen as the one who has it right or the need to have the last word. I could leave what might have been a hot-tempered discussion and see the beauty in hearing other views and remain calm.
It’s Secret is Patience
More than feeling calm after a heated discussion is the understanding of life. Understanding that being right is not the most important thing. Being loving is the most important thing. Knowing I am made in the image of God as Genesis 3 tells us and a little lower than God doesn’t make me a god. It makes me privileged to reflect God and His love for those I am in contact. It could be we slow down when we get older so we can see the essential things in life. Perhaps knowing our relationship with God is an intimate relationship that has grown over the years to make us into His image helps people can see Him in our acts of kindness or our words. God is long-suffering. He is more than patient with us; He is willing to look beyond the mess we make to what we can become in relationship to Him. It takes time and slowing to His pace to understand this. I know there are a lot of really great Christians who are young and I don’t discount their understanding of the spiritual life they have. I also don’t discount the fact some people over retirement age haven’t started on a spiritual journey to knowing God.
There is Help from the Ultimate Elder
Having worked with people nearing the end of life, I know they are open to hearing about God and His blessings. One of those great blessings is knowing we can be forgiven for the things we have gotten wrong in life. Another benefit is that God offers us an afterlife that is beyond our imagination. We can wait until our deathbed to decide to be forgiven because we didn’t have all the answers after all. Or we can enter into a relationship with God right now through Jesus Christ and admit we never had all the answers. We probably don’t care so much about being right as having the inner peace of God and enjoying His blessings. Since we have slowed down now to see God’s beautiful creation, let’s also surrender our pride and striving so we can admit we need help with life. Whether we are doing old age alone or with a partner, it can be the best time of our life! As A. Wetherall Johnsons use to say. “Let’s not finish somehow, let’s finish triumphantly!”