Daily Devotions

Appreciating the Wrinkles

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You shall rise before the aged, and defer to the old; and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:32)

According to OrbisResearch.com, “The Global Anti-Aging Market was worth $250 billion in 2016 and estimated to be growing at a CAGR of 5.8%, to reach $331.41 billion by 2021.Jun 19, 2017.” Uffda! Just think about what could be done with that income for something like global warming, or cancer research. What does that say about we human beings? We live in a society where youth is worshiped and getting older is seen as a curse. This isn’t fair to our youth, and it is certainly not to older people.

I love Peggy Freydberg’s comment, in her book, “Poems from the Pond”: “I tell myself that I must see something in the mirror besides my wrinkled veneer if I am to have any calm; that I will have to make my peace with the loss of smooth skin, and find satisfaction in the gaining of something to take its place. Something, yes, that should always have been in me. Or something that has always been in me has never seen the light of day.” We lose and gain throughout our life. When we judge one stage of life as significantly more meaningful and beneficial than another, it is destructive to all people.

I hate getting older, because my body doesn’t look, or move, like it did thirty years ago. I have a lot of aches and pains, and I cannot image how I will feel in another thirty years, if I’m still around. Other than that, I actually enjoy this older me. After nearly 40 years of focusing my study on my chosen profession, I feel like I am still learning more every day, and that is exciting. I love putting my experience with new learning and creatively stretching my mind in new ways. While I miss having my daughter underfoot every day, I love being a grandfather, and watching my family grow, as I enjoy my son-in-law and his extended family. The older I get, the less I have to prove, to myself, or anyone else. 

Today, think about your aging process. Prayerfully share your feelings about it with God. Be honest, and offer your fears and frustrations. But don’t stop there. Also consider ways your life has improved as you’ve gained experience. Yes, there is physical pain, and emotional loss, but there can also be a feeling of accomplishment and wisdom. The way to bring respect back to our older people, is to respect our own aging process. To truly appreciate the blessing of memories and learning, one needs to appreciate the mistakes and struggles overcome. There is learning in that — especially as we learn to trust God to be in each and every event along the way.

Playful Work and Serious Play - Part Two

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And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. (Zechariah 8:5)

 

Serious Play is not an oxymoron! When we work as hard as we do, we need to prepare our play with great care. Otherwise, time slides through our fingers, and the week or two is gone before we even get started. Again, my buddy, who I have never met, Thomas Moore, and his book, “Ageless Soul,” guides my understanding of purposeful play. Moore said, “It [play] has its own time frame and gives us a taste of what it’s like to step outside the rush of ordinary time.”

One of my favorite playful activities is shooting pool with a friend nearly every Friday. Anyone who might watch our pool shooting would be hard pressed to call it “play.” We holler when we miss a shot, and we talk trash when a difficult one goes in. The winner is an unbearable braggadocio. It is great fun and the hours fly by. Moore describes it well. “In the middle of a game we can sense the ageless soul that is not caught in the fast, purposeful time of daily activities.” Letting loose with a pool cue is healing because time stands still and stress isn’t felt for a least a few hours per week.

Play is a Divine gift from God. It is also a relatively recent enterprise in the history of humanity. A little over a hundred years ago, most people had at least a six-day work week. It was before labor unions were able to carve out parameters around the amount of work that can be done per day, and per week. A large number of people lived on the edge of starvation. They barely had enough to eat, let alone find time and physical energy to spend on play. We are so blessed to have a work/play balance that most of humanity didn’t get.

Today, think about the amount of time you spend in play. Then, consider how much fun you are having when you are at play. Too many people play golf, not for the love of the game, but for the business opportunities a good golf game provides. This can strip the play from the game. Play is important, so you can give your all when you get back to work. Ask God to give you the vision and determination to play with reckless abandon. When you figure this out, your work will improve, your play will be phenomenal and your stress will fall away. Get a pool cue, a basketball, even UNO cards, anything (except Bridge games, it’s just too demanding), and go out and play like a seven year old! God will bless your play.

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