Archives For perception

I don’t remember being this old. I certainly don’t feel it in my bones (well, sometimes, I do). I’m 44. It seems a higher number than I recall. Where did my thirties go? I blinked, and they passed like a whisper on the wind–never to be heard again.

I look in the mirror, and the face looking back at me is older than the man seeing it feels. The eyelids droop with the inexorable pull of gravity, there’s an extra chin which seems to have sprouted fully-formed when I wasn’t looking. How did that happen? How did I get here? One cheek has a slight concavity from the nightly wearing of a CPAP head strap. Sleep apnea? Isn’t that something that old, overweight men suffer from? Oh, wait

I don’t remember growing older… It just happened one day when I wasn’t looking. I went to bed one night, and awoke middle aged. I went to bed with hopes, dreams, and aspirations, and awakened to a job I’ve been at for nearly a fourth of my life. Time, seemingly so slow to pass when I was young, feels more and more like the “Kessel Run” (of Star Wars fame): like the smuggler Han Solo, it wants to do its business undetected, and as quickly as possible (so as not to attract any attention), and in less than twelve parsecs.

It’s robbing me of my energy, sapping my creative will… The gap between what I hoped to have done, and what I’ve actually done, is ever-widening. (Publish a book? Hah! When do you have time, and energy to write? To really write?).

Will I bridge that gap? Will you?

Carpe diem, my friends. We each of us just have one day to pursue our dreams. We each are alotted one life, one that is lived, and has only ever been lived, on one day:

TODAY.

We–you, me, all of us–have it in us. Have the energy, the courage, the fortitude to face today. As C.S. Lewis once said, “The future comes at all of us at the same rate: sixty seconds in a minute, sixty minutes per hour.”

We don’t know how many minutes, or hours, we’ll be given.

So let’s make them count, shall we?

As a small child, I suffered from anemia. So much so that I was
frequently made to toddle across the street to the neighbor’s (a
nurse) house for iron shots. I guess I did not have a problem with
this for two reasons:

1) There was a cookie in it for me; and,
2) Prior to being diagnosed with anemia, there was a trip to the
hospital with my dad…

I remember the sharp tang of antiseptics, the scent of Pine Sol used
to clean the corridors, an endless descent down in an elevator, and a
long walk down a dimly lit hall. I was five, and I was to be getting a
blood test. At the time, I did not know what a “blood test” was
(having never had one). Honestly, I do not recall what I expected.

The stark reality was a cold metal chair under a sun-bright medical in
the middle of a chilly room. I was not, as they say, “down with that.”
I struggled, resisted, fought with every ounce of strength I possessed
to keep from being poked with that sharp, scary, needle.

“Keep him still,” the doctor said to my dad.

“I’m trying,” he replied. In the end, I was too much; I thought I had
won! There would be no needles piercing the delicate flesh of my inner
arm!

How wrong I was! My dad found an off-duty police officer (working
security) in the corridor, and invited him to assist with the
procedure.

I was sunk! Despite my best efforts, two grown men proved to be too
much for me. The needle delicately made its way into my young vein,
and…

I said, “That wasn’t so bad.” All of that fuss, all of that fight, and
it was not so very bad at all. I never feared needles again.

And yet…

How often do we, who should know better, react as I did under threat
of that dreaded needle, when Jesus promises to bring change (and with
it perceived pain)into our lives? We duck, and dodge Him, hoping to
avoid it.

And in the end, only manage to prolong the process, thereby making it
worse. God says that all things work together for the good (not that
the bad things are good–that would be insane) for those that love
Him. The fundamental issue, then, is that, as when I was a boy, we
fail to trust that Father knows best.

We kick, we scream, we fight, when what Father desires is our trust, our surrender. We fight because we are stubborn, willful, creatures–creatures wanting our own way.

And that includes avoiding the pain of growing up. It is past time to face facts: growing is inevitable, and we can either embrace the discomfort, or try to run from it. Either way, it will hurt.

But the path of willing surrender hurts ever so much less. Because it means we are humbling ourselves, surrendering our pride, and no longer
trying to hide.

It means we are partnering with a loving Father Who truly does know best.

The pain, the disappointments, are His appointments–and our opportunities to do that one thing we do not wish to do:

Exercise faith.

Because that means we are not in control.

But that is right where Jesus wants us: broken.

Speak on it: Where do you resist being broken in your life? How is that working out? Is God’s way really so scary?