Growing older is like a train rolling down the track. No matter how many Botox injections, vitamins or hair plugs, we cannot stop the reality of our mortality. There is nothing wrong with trying to look young, and we agree that dieting and exercise would surely be a healthy and positive lifestyle, but the hourglass only contains so much sand.
As the days keep ticking away, we are reminded to not put off until tomorrow what we can do today because we are not sure how many tomorrows we will have. If you want a big juicy steak, for heaven's sake go have one. If you have thought about helping someone or have a desire to say or give them something, do not fall into the someday excuse and never do it. If you feel a burden to write a letter, make a call, invite someone to dinner or ask someone to forgive you for something you did or said, by all means, do it today. Delay is a sure way to miss a golden opportunity.
There are certain aspects that I miss from my youth, like being free from worries, along with having boundless energy and vitality. Now that I'm older, I cannot see as clearly, I get winded pretty easily and sometimes I cannot remember people's names. I love to take naps, and when I watch "Jeopardy," the answers are given before I can even think.
Then there are the mistakes I wish I could forget. I realize it does no good to live in regret, but I cannot help but wonder what could have been. I recall being more occupied with the present than concerned with the future, and I can only imagine how much more I could have done if I knew then what I know now. The past is gone, and even if I were given a do-over, I would probably make more of a mess than I did the first time.
God has always been there for me and, all in all, even without winning the lottery, I'm happy with where I am in my journey. Sure, we dream about what we could do with large amounts of money, but then we snap back into the real world and realize the most important meaning of life is our personal relationship with God.
As the Scripture says in Matthew 16, "For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
I am not rich by any means, but I am also not poor and there again is the compassionate and amazing grace of our heavenly Father.
As you and I face the prospects of growing older, we will ask ourselves questions like, "What should I be doing now to prepare for a time when I cannot take care of myself?" Along with these practical decisions are also considerations for our spiritual life that speaks bluntly and boldly to the deepest recesses of our heart. Truth does not intend to be mean or cruel but desires to awaken us to the possibilities of purpose.
The fact is, without change, we will be then what we are now. If you are not becoming a person of faith, love and kindness now, you will not be that type of a person then. If you are a negative and grumpy person now, you will not suddenly become a positive and generous individual then. If you are not learning, growing, praying and developing an intimate personal relationship with God today, unfortunately you will not walk with him then.
We will change when the agony of conviction to be transformed becomes greater than the apathy and contentment to stay the same.
Charles Bancroft wrote this encouraging poem, "God loves the aged. He gives them greater visions than the young: He puts words of wisdom on their tongue: And keeps His presence ever by their side, from dawn to dusk, and on through eventide. God helps the aged. Within their home, his spirit dwells: Their mellow hearts are touched like chiming bells: He calms their fears, then worries disappear because they know his help is always near. God keeps the aged. With hearts of gold, and silver tinted hair: And earnestness, and greater faith in prayer: He keeps them as a shepherd guards his sheep, til in his fold they gently fall asleep."
William F. Holland Jr. is a minister and chaplain based in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Read this article in its entirety at billyhollandministries.com.