Thomas Times – Age

From the Thomas Times, our annual family newsletter:

 There is something sobering about age.  I recently sent a birthday soliloquy to one of my nephews, in which I mentioned an iron pot.  This is a pot I remember seeing in a field over 50 years ago, as men who worked on our farm boiled a hog they had just killed in order to turn it into hams and bacon.  Recently, a friend and I dug that same pot out of the ground where it had been partly buried under the side of a barn.  I made the point that it was still in good shape, because cast iron, once it gets a coating of rust, doesn’t deteriorate any more.  However, in the last day or two, I happened to walk by the pot and take a closer look, since I noticed something amiss.  As I tapped it with a small hammer, several pieces of the bottom chipped off.  As it happened, the very bottom had been in contact with wet earth for many of those 50 years, and the rust had penetrated…

Age penetrates.  Many of you, half my age or less, simply don’t believe me.  Your eyes have skimmed past those two words, and they have not registered.  Regardless, like the rust eating iron under the moist ground, age penetrates everything you are, and what has been is no longer the same.  In my case, there will be a six in my age soon, and my comment has long been “I’m not getting older, I’m getting closer.”  Now having come closer, I am more fully experiencing the price of age, at least in the fallen kingdom of the first king, Adam.  Acts that were once easy, aren’t so much.  I used to bound up the back stairs at our house… I still bound, but not as fast.  Mostly, I find that peak performance simply isn’t as “peak”, and I must make adjustments.

This is part of going “further in”, and it forces all of us to consider the hope we have for the future.  In other words, when age penetrates all that we do, why go on? …

Why not?  Why is the painful and disquieting struggle against the penetration of sin & death an excuse to stop trying?  To put it another way, do I actually believe in the hope I have confessed all these years?  Indeed, these things are why age is sobering, for all of us are forced by it to face the truth.  It is as if the Creator is saying through years, “All right.  You confessed many things when young and strong, and life was full of promise.  What will you do now, when what was easy has become harder, and the future holds more of the same …?”

As we look forward to the rest of 2012, I am encouraged by the hope I have been given.  It is the same hope found centuries ago when two women approached a tomb thinking to give their friend a proper burial.  Instead, angels in dazzling white rebuked them, asking “… Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen… ”  Luke 24:5b,6a.  Therefore, age may penetrate and rust may scar, but neither will have the last word.

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