Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Adopt An Old Guy

A few weeks ago an old acquaintance shot me an email on my birthday, asking me, now that I’m “certifiably old,” what wisdom could I impart to him who is “still so very young.” The first thing that popped into my head was to write back, “I’m only 62. I’ll let you know…when I am actually old.”  The second thought was the memory of my father’s last words, as he lie dying: “Fear God, keep His Commandments, and take care of your mother.” The third thought was, “Wow, when dad was younger his list would have been a lot longer!” And that’s the thing about growing older: it changes your perspective on what really matters.

Consider these differences in perspective and the value of making such distinctions in our day-to-day lives:

The Urgency of The Immediate v What is Important
The skirmish in front of you is usually a distraction from the front lines of the battle for the soul: yours and theirs. Be clear about your priorities: it makes it easier to say no to all those urgent requests that keep you from what and whom you need to be giving yourself.

The Temporal v The Eternal / Things v Values
Spend time contemplating the answers to this question: What is of eternal value? Then ask yourself where you are investing most of your resources.

What Works v What is Virtuous
Making a stand for what is True, Good, Just, Beautiful, and etc., is well and good but only if you do so virtuously. Do you want to Be Right or to Be Love? How you go about making your stands and achieving your goals is as important as the goal itself: probably more so.

Control v Letting Go / Fear v Faith
Newsflash: The only thing you can control is yourself; other than this, control is an illusion and is fear-based. “Let go and let God…” is not some trite saying but the incarnation of wisdom and faith. In every arena where you are seeking to control circumstances and others so as to achieve your outcomes at whatever the cost, you are manifesting a lack of faith and wisdom. Deal with it before it deals with you.

Side Bar: One of the blessings of and life-lessons from parenting 5 children, is that, early on, you are outnumbered and outgunned, so you learn the futility of fighting for control and, rather, to trust God with the greatest treasures of your heart.

Judging Others v Minding Your Own Business
The amount of time and energy some people waste on seeking to sort out the lives of others is astounding. Did he ask for your feedback? Did she come and beg you for your counsel? Did they bring their appeals to you, seeking for your wisdom? No? Then heed the words of St Paul: “We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.” If you have time to run around poking your nose into the lives of others, then you have time to get a second job or to work on sorting out your own life, both of which would be far more productive for you.

Eternal Youth v Growing in Grace
Compare the amount of time you spend on your physical well-being and adornment to what is spent on the means for growing in grace. No. I’m serious.  Make a list. Check it twice. So much of what we do for our bodies today falls more within the category of seeking eternal youth (vanity) than it does an exercise in stewardship.

Here’s the choice before you: You can spend the next 30 or 40 years painfully learning the importance of making such distinctions or you can adopt an Old Guy or Gal and do your all to drain them of every ounce of wisdom they possess. You don’t have to wait to be ancient before you have the wisdom of an ancient one: all you need to do is begin following their wisdom. Trust me: it will save you from so much heartache and wasted time.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment