Beth and I were talking over the weekend about perspective. It amazes me as I get older the more control I lose and the greater perspective I gain. Whether it’s a few moments, days, months or years, our lives, which we like to plan, can come undone.
The world has never been predictable. I was speaking with a friend the other day about the instability which surrounds us. Our political systems, family and community systems, even our environment seems to be spinning out of control. Nothing, if it ever was, is normal nor inevitable.
Last night I read a quote from Eugene Peterson, a pastor, writer, and scholar. He writes;
“The whole of the spiritual life is learning to die.”
This quote resonated with my spirit and experiences over the last several years. Dying takes many forms. Death of all things is a given but we seem to organize our lives as if we might be the ones to escape the fate of everyone else. Death is not a negative word if you’ve learned to die. If you do not hold on treasures and trinkets, live each day as if it’s your last; being kind, grace-filled and loving, never putting off to an uncertain tomorrow what can be done now, in the present moment.
We are but sojourners on this path called life. We are not meant nor built to last for long. With this perspective; how we choose to be today could be how our transient life is remembered tomorrow.
Last night Beth and I went to Madison, Tennessee to pick up a few items from friends who are having a garage sale this weekend. I always keep a bungee net in the truck bed for when items are placed in the bed and need to be held securely.
Once everything was situated I grabbed the bungee net, hooked it to one side, threw it over to the other and walked around to the other side to set the hooks in place. However, when I pulled the net tight it broke in my hand. Figuring it was just a weak spot worn out by time, weather and use I grabbed another piece and it did the same thing. The net, which I bought several years ago had begun to break down and though I was able to finally find enough strong places, to hook it to the truck, it is time to buy a new one.
On the long drive home I thought about the net and how we too can become worn out physically, emotionally and spiritually. We long to be a source of security and strength to others but seasons of use and stress have taken their toll. Giving up, hopefully, isn’t an option, but as we get older, become more self-aware, we know where our strengths are and the weak places. With this wisdom, we are better able to be a source of security and strength to others and discover we are still capable of being used to help others feel and be secure on the road of life.
In the End –
This morning I watched a documentary entitled; “Get me Roger Stone!” It was a biographical tale of one of the most famous, some might say; “Infamous” political consultants. He helped Ronald Regan get elected, many other Republican candidates be successful, and was one of the architects of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Near the end of the film, Mr. Stone says (paraphrasing); “If I go down as the dirtiest player in the game I’ll consider myself a success.”
I grew up thinking people, as the get older, begin to think on the brevity of life and what comes after. I thought the older people became the more spiritual, wise and kind they became. No matter the type of life they lived when they were young there was always an age where they turned the corner and began to live virtuous lives.
I think my understanding of older people was skewed by the ones I knew. I had two godly grandmothers and the only others were from church. They taught Sunday school, gave praises and lots of hugs, smiled a lot, didn’t judge and seemed to be one step closer to heave n than the rest of us youngsters. To me, this is how all older people acted. However, as I grew up I realized this wasn’t the case. True, there are some people who changed but most older people are just older versions of their younger selves. There wasn’t an age where they ripened into good fruit or a corner that made them spiritual and wise.
The documentary today was a reminder that we are choosing our destiny every day. Each choice we make takes us down a path and at the end of our journey the story of our lives will be told by the choices we made. What’s written on our headstones, spoken about at our eulogy, remembered about us is what we have done, are doing and will do.