Thursday, September 17, 2009

The real "real" age

This morning I was doing my "walk the dog" thing and had one of those "out of body" experiences where it felt like I was someone else, watching myself walk the dog. Weird, huh?

What I noticed was an ostensibly middle-aged man kicking an acorn along the sidewalk - counting how many times he could kick the same acorn before losing it, and then starting over to improve the score! A little later I noticed the same guy balancing along the top of a long landscape timber alongside the Bethel Baptist parking lot. Then I saw him with a handful of acorns, pitching them at mail-boxes just to hear the metallic "ping" when they hit just right.

It was during the mailbox pinging incident that I - back inside my own head by this time - observed a man looking at me as if I were not quite right. He was standing halfway down his driveway in a bathrobe, wearing sandals and black socks halfway to his knees, puffing on a big cigar and scowling.

Wow, I thought, waving brightly in his direction with a cheery "Good morning!" He looks really really old.

However, on closer examination - I walked over to introduce him to Scout - he was probably a few years younger than me.

So I spent most of the rest of the walk thinking about the idea of age, and how much of an impact our approach to life has on the process. Then - just ten minutes ago at this writing - I took one of those "Real Age" tests on line. Chronologically I'm 53.4. The test put me at 45.1, based on their mostly health-related criterion.

Interesting... but.... if I developed a "Real Age" test it would include items such as, "Given the opportunity to walk on the sidewalk or balance along a landscape timber, what would you choose?" Or, "Do acorns on the sidewalk annoy you while you puff your big fat cheroot, or do you scoop them up and throw them at things, just for fun?" and the all important "What do you read first when you open the newspaper in the morning, the front page news headlines or the comics?"

The test would also include such items as:
  • How often do you go out on a date with your wife?
  • Do you wrestle your dog on a daily basis?
  • Do you sometimes open the roof and the windows in your car and listen to loud rock-'n-roll while driving?
  • Do your nieces and nephews find you fun, or boring?
  • When you awake first thing in the morning, are you grateful or irritable?
  • What kind of aura surrounds you? Is it 'joie de vivre', 'Philippians 4:4-9' (reproduced below), or talk-radio-esque gloom and doom?
The list could go on, but I think you catch my drift. That kind of test may have some of us come in at "21" again, "16", or even "6". Many of us, on the other hand, would receive a resounding designation of "Over the Hill."

This morning my Bible reading reminded me that I am God's child, and that I have eternity stretched out before me to discover and to engage with a fresh and renewed spirit every day.

What does the way we live say about our spiritual age?

Grace and Peace - DEREK

The Philippians passage:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

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