This morning, for the first time in a long time, I’m feeling somewhat closer to the age that’s listed on my legal identifying documents. I wonder if this is how others that were born in 1963 feel, and if so, how long have they felt this way. Not only am I feeling it physically, I’m experiencing it emotionally as I sit here and answer an 80’s trivia question tossed out by a barista half my age. Sometimes my mind creates this illusion that I “grew up” during that era. I only remember being young then. The reality is that I was married and having children then. I myself am a child of the previous decade. But then again I’ve always been about 10 years off. One look in my closet testifies to that reality.
I can’t complain too much though about age and aging. The last time that I can remember feeling old was about 8 years ago. It was August 1998. It was 95 humid degrees outside and I was lying on a field with a severely broken arm and shoulder after being tackled by a three hundred pound teenager playing football. I distinctly remember two thoughts that were floating through my mind. The first one was sort of a dream of floating in the surf on the coast of Cape Cod, a sort of shock induced illusion. That’s a story for another time. The second and most vivid memory is of my body, for the first time, accepting the limitations of age. It was a humbling experience. It was a turning point in my life I think. It even, I think, marked the beginning of the journey away from a passion for working with and ministering to teenagers. It had gotten the best of me. My mind still remained engaged in the process for some time afterwards, but my heart began to fade. I don’t know that it was a bad thing, it just was.
And so this morning, there’s no broken bones and no broken dreams, but I’m feeling aged just the same. Or maybe it’s just that I’m feeling truly what how I ought to feel. It’s hard to say. I mean, I’ve never been 43 before right? Usually I love Monday mornings. I love the time with my laptop and Tully’s. I look forward to the week. Everyone is new and unknown. I like that….usually. Today I feel like there is much to do in and with my life and not the energy or passion to complete it. In the words of Bilbo, I’m feeling like “butter spread over too much bread”. I love that line. It’s so true at times for those of us who allow it to be so. I guess that I’ve allowed it to be so.
Therefore, as I sit and write this, I am committing to stand and do something about it. My inspiration for the moment goes back to another teenager. I’m studying the life of Mary this week for a Christmas teaching series. Here is someone whose circumstance certainly didn’t match her age. She was painfully aware of her limitations. She had a much larger piece of bread to deal with then I’ll ever know. One line from the passage I’m in right now jumps out from the page like a three dimensional Imax film. “I am the Lords servant, may it be to me as you have said”. There is a great deal of insight and confidence contained in that line. She knew whose she was and who was controlling the size of the bread. She just needed to be willing to be butter. I need to know that, or at least I need to be reminded of that. If I allow it, especially during this time of my year, my environment will become overwhelming. The bread becomes too large and I feel ill equipped to handle it. If I can remember that my job is simply to be butter, then He will handle the bread.