Today is the last Sunday of January and each of us is one month older. To some, that is good news. To others, it is not.
For many people there was a time in life when were complimented if someone guessed our age to be more than it was. Now we are complimented when someone thinks our age to be less than it is. Somewhere along the way, a transition took place. But when did it happen? Most of us do not remember. We only know that it did.
Our attitude toward aging is an interesting thing. We live in a youth-oriented culture. Everyone seems to think the ideal age is about twenty-five. Those who are younger want to hurry up and get there. Those who are older keep trying to get back to it.
But we know, and cannot forget, that all of this is, at best, a holding action. We may beat the clock for a little while. But we cannot beat the calendar – not for long. The pages of life keep turning, and eventually we get old. For some, it is already here. For others, it will come later. But barring an untimely death, for all of us, it is a certainty. You may not be old, but you are a year older. And you will never again be as young as you are today.
Why we seek to camouflage this inevitable and natural part of life, we do not know. Yet there is a better way. We can accept the truth that our bodies are getting older and we will someday be old. We might as well accept it; there is nothing we can do about it. But we can claim another truth – that our spirits do not have to get old. The real you and the real me, who live inside these bodies, can stay forever young.
You see, a zest for life is not the private domain of the very young. I have known people past eighty years of age who were younger at heart and more alive than ninety percent of the college population. A very young old person once wrote: “Lord, now that I am growing old, keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and every occasion. Release me from the craving to straighten out everybody’s lives. Make me thoughtful but not moody, helpful but not bossy. Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. Give me the ability to see beauty in unexpected places and splendor in unexpected people.”
If we can grow older with that kind of spirit, we will stay forever young. Life can be and should be an external summons to adventure. And the calendar has very little to do with it.
What enables a person to do this? If it doesn’t come from the natural enthusiasm of youth, where does it come from? For us, the answer should be simple. It comes from a strong faith in God.
What else is there that can be counted on across all the years? Start building that strong faith today. Then as time passes, and the years plow over us, with God’s help, we can stay forever young, whatever our age may be.