I remember as a kid how the days seemed so long. In the summertime after breakfast, I would shoot basketball until the sun became too hot, and then I would ride my bike to cool off. Our neighbors had five children, and we would play kickball until it was too dark to see. Life was fun, and I was always excited to do it all over again the next day.
I can still recall the simple joys of running through clover as fast as I could for no reason except to feel the wind on my face. I made sure to wear shoes because being stung by a honeybee was not pleasant. I loved to lie down on our picnic table in the backyard and watch the clouds pass by. It was interesting to see them transform into amazing images that looked so real and always wondered if anyone else was noticing this awesome display.
On those lazy humid days when the temperature would soar, I would turn on the garden hose and run through the water sprinkler and then play with my trucks and bulldozers under the cool shade of the trees. When I heard the sound of a lone airplane, I would run out into the yard to try to locate it within an endless blue sky.
I remember climbing our cherry trees and sitting high in the branches sharing the delicious fruit with the numerous birds that had the same idea. I would pick cherries, and my mother would bake pies that were so delicious. I cannot recall being stressed or anxious about the future. I just believed everything would always stay this way and be all right.
Well, we all grow up and discover that our journey has seasons and is always moving forward. I've had a blessed life, and I'm learning that, of all the things we can do, living in the awareness of God's glorious presence will provide the courage and faith we need to endure whatever may come.
As we grow older, it seems that time passes more quickly. Maybe this is because we are spending too much of it watching others instead of focusing on what we need to do. When we allow ourselves to become overly absorbed and entangled with problems we cannot change, this can overwhelm us with sadness and discouragement. However, learning to live a productive yet uncomplicated lifestyle can help us rediscover the simplicity and contentment we once enjoyed when we were young.
When is the last time you went hiking and enjoyed the beauty of God's creation? It would be fun to play in the snow and feel the rain on our faces. Maybe in the evenings we could turn off the television and take a quiet walk, as talking with the Lord always brings peace and calm into our soul. Maybe if we realize that age has more to do with attitude than years, we could experience life on a higher level and have more joy and contentment. It is said that we are as young as our faith and as old as our despair.
In a restaurant the other day, I noticed an elderly couple sitting together in a booth. The woman's hands were shaking, and her food would not stay on the fork. After several attempts, she put the fork down. Her husband also put his fork down. He quietly reached over and took her fork, cut the pancake and gently started toward her mouth with a bite. She opened her mouth and accepted without even changing facial expressions. He returned to his plate and then began the compassionate process of taking turns. My eyes welled up. This scene touched me deeply and reminded me of how life seems to return full circle.
Choosing to live in a disposition of childlike trust and hope in God allows us to remain happy and in his favor. Matthew 18 talks about obedience and humility as a result of being spiritually converted and restored into the way we observed and contemplated life through our conscience as a young child. The innocence of children is precious in God's sight, and he desires that we maintain this attitude and perspective of purity and a character of forgiveness, sincerity and love no matter what age we are.
Billy Holland is a Christian minister, author and community chaplain who lives in central Kentucky with his wife Cheryl. Learn more at billyhollandministries.com.