Celebrating Graying Temples

I’m getting old. No surprise to you, I know, but it reads like the daily news to me. Reflect with me on these little reminders from recent comments:

  • “Your hair [what’s left of it is implied in this comment] is getting more gray around the temples.”
  • “Time for your colonoscopy again.” [Sigh.]
  • “Your whole face fills with wrinkles when you smile.” [Okay, I actually said that one to the face looking back at me in the mirror as I laughed at all my laugh lines.]

If the comments are not enough, feeling the sore back every morning when I wake up, finding out recently that for months I have been calling a couple that I see regularly by the names of Larry and Nancy when they are actually Steve and Ruth, and hearing more adults using “Mr. York” rather than my first name serve as daily messengers that the “way of all the earth” has no exception clauses. We are all but a vapor (James 4:14), a fading flower (I Peter 1:24), each man a breath (Psalm 39:11) – from dust created and to dust returning. Sometimes this “dirty” truth occurs particle by particle, the dust flaking away imperceptibly until one day we awaken to find just how much has departed. My wife and I gave our bedroom a vigorous cleaning this weekend and removed all the “dust bunnies” under the bed. Are we not all just glorified dust bunnies – a brief appearance swept away in a moment of time?

Yet not all is gloom, ghastly and gray. Nothing worse than a grumpy old man. Though the outer body is decaying, there is a soul in that dust bunny. I can testify that, in Christ, with age also comes the renewal of the inner man. “The honor of old men is their gray hair” the proverb reads, and the Lord does honor age by giving wisdom as time marches on toward its unstoppable victory. The passing of years that has brought monumental struggles with sin, aching knees, and witnessing too many broken relationships has also tamed my bucking soul. I find that I can appreciate the simple blessings He daily brings, such as:

  • Having more fun watching and helping others, especially my sons, play basketball than playing myself.
  • Meeting a friend for lunch and enjoying listening to what is on his heart rather than always having to tell what’s on mine.
  • Holding my four-year old on my lap in worship last night during the singing and hearing her belt out a psalm we are memorizing.
  • Finally admitting and laughing with my children that their untucked shirts are actually in style and not a sign of disrespect to my generation.
  • Not having to win every theological discussion.
  • Hearing my wife pray.

Each grain of sand falling in the hourglass serves not only as a reminder of the passing of time but as a picture of what is happening to us. We do well then to learn the wisdom God offers, proving that hearing and seeing in a spiritual sense can improvewith time. One final thing I would confess to seeing better now than as a young man is that, with all our glory fading as it is, we do well not to take ourselves too seriously. Some innocent fun along life’s journey (as the picture below taken this summer at the fair may show) does not have to be beneath serious-minded Christians. Actually, is it not a small slice of the eternal enjoyment that will eventually transcend this time that, for now, indeed ages us, but will not and cannot defeat us? For besides bringing me aches and pains, is not time also bringing me closer to the source of all blessing and joy?

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