This morning I was strongly reminded of something: I’m only a little pen in the hand of God. Whatever gifts are given to me, the point is to do them all heartily as unto the Lord, Who is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. They are freely given as God’s Spirit Winds singing through us hollow flutes His melody of Love.
I’m also reminded that unless the Lord builds “the house” – whatever life projects that may represent to anyone – they labor in vain that build it.
It was time for another “life review” this morning. It doesn’t really take a near death experience to have one. But it can be triggered as you notice a lot of people in your life going through some crises essentially characterized as “no win situations”. In other words only surrender to divine intervention will yield the solutions or answers.
I spent four years in the US Air Force, had the blessing of a good job for over thirty-five years following that. For my entire life I have also been involved in fine art, singing and songwriting. I have always loved writing and crafting ideas with words.
What I have learned is that each one has been, or is, a phase or emphasis wherein spiritual work and transformation are accomplished. God uses everything in our life to form Christ in us. I perceive this as their real purpose; they are tools in the Hand of God, not an end unto themselves to be manipulated by ego.
However, when they become ends in themselves, we eventually understand through experience what “The Preacher” also realized: “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” (Ecclesiastes 1:14) None of this is going to last!
As my halo of silver hair becomes more noticeable, I’ve become convinced that this life isn’t my gig. It’s His, and the more I understand this, the happier I become through surrendering the “I wants” and the “I wills” to Him.
This view has morphed into an expression I call “Elderhood” – the projects of the “last third” of life, where the emphasis is now much like something Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word…” (Luke 1:38)
It’s an important task – one I hope will be embraced by more of us Elders in this last third of life, where too many seem to be unable to let go of youth. Consequently many are unhappy, discontented, depressed, and dissatisfied with life, because they’re attempting to live in the non-reality of a phase of life that left them long ago.
As the saying goes, there’s no fool like an old fool – someone who should have realized and valued real wisdom gained along the way, but insists on preserving the emphases of former years meant to pass away.
I’m not advocating rolling over and playing dead here! Please understand. There are different tasks for each third of life that need to be embraced, instead of chasing after the stage that is leaving town, so to speak. That’s all. It’s a wise view, versus a worldly view.
The world’s view places its eggs in the basket of denial that any aspect of finite reality is subject to change. It lives in the the illusion that some idea or goal we may be attached to is never going to pass away. This includes our life and body as well. We pursue infinity through pursuit of everything that is finite. Thus forty year olds try to be twenty, and sixty year olds try to be forty, and so forth. There’s even the thought out there that “fifty is the new thirty.” Hogwash. Get over it.
There would be a lot more serenity if we would accept the assignments appropriate to time and place with grace (which are not mission impossible), the things we cannot change – namely in this case the idea that everything is in life for a season. Even we are in this life only for a season!
It’s been an adjustment for the ego, but if there’s one thing I’m realizing, it’s that I wish my ego had been put in its rightful place long ago. I’d have been a lot happier. Yet better late than never applies here too.
When it comes down to this point, the daily question is, “Lord, how may I be of service to You today?” (“Thy will, not mine, be done” has a way of silencing a great deal of self absorption.) He reminds me then that He has a good many disguises, appearing as people near and dear who may need my assistance. Or He may be a stranger. He may appear as someone who simply needs to be heard and to have a shoulder to cry on, someone who needs to have a smile directed their way.
That means I need to let go of personal will worship and my agenda, and embrace whatever task He places before me each day. The thought has even crossed my mind to throw away the planner and let Heaven schedule the days… His yoke is easy and His burden light. I have nothing to fear!
You get to embrace the role of Elder as a major life emphasis when you hit about age sixty. Or when sixty hits you. The perspective is your choice. The way I see it, age zero through thirty is preparation for the very active productive second phase, age thirty through sixty. Sixty and anything beyond seems to offer the opportunity to be of service to others in an Elder capacity.
Honoring Elders and Elders honoring Elderhood may be something the West has yet to embrace. Indigenous cultures respect Elders – those whom they look up to for the life wisdom they can provide. This role is also embraced, honored, and respected by the Elders themselves. It’s taken seriously. This provides them a valuable place in the tribe or community, where foundational wisdom is offered by them.
Even so at the end of the day, when we connect with our mortality in the body, and know that Eternity stretches out before us, it becomes evident and obvious that the road must always lead into Eternity, that we “little pens” all, without exception, run out of ink at some point, as the Hand of God writes on forever.