In the humble (errant) opinion of AARP – who sent me a complimentary trial membership card this past week – I’m now old. Or at least old enough to join the club. Just like that. One day, not even an invited guest. Next day, a card-carrying (trial) member headed (one presumes) straight to the retirement community.
What do they know?
After living for a certain number of years – during which each and every day I was turning older than the day before – I’ve learned a few things.
1. Going to camp with middle-schoolers is a blast. Period. No questions asked.
2. College students are profoundly philosophical. They ask all the right questions – and too often receive all the wrong answers.
3. There is always enough time to take a nap.
4. Age has nothing to do with the calendar year and everything to do with the spirit.
5. Parenting is more work than any of the books tell you.
6. Most books on parenting aren’t worth reading.
7. Staying married is more work than any of the books tell you.
8. Most books on marriage aren’t worth reading.
9. Sometimes there’s just no explaining one’s dietary cravings.
10. Relatively speaking, I’ve learned practically nothing. Or: I have a whole lot still to learn.
That last one is perhaps the most unexpected twist in this whole growing-up thing: the closer I grow to the Lord and the more I get to know Him, the more aware I become of just how very far from Him I am and just how very little I actually know.
The more I encounter His grace the more aware I become of just how little of His grace I’ve actually encountered.
The deeper I sink my roots into His love the more aware I become of just how shallow my rootedness really is.
The firmer I anchor my life into His strength the more aware I become of just how susceptible I am to a slow and gentle drift.
The more I experience significant change in my life the more aware I become of just how much more change needs to happen.
The more I am filled with His love the more aware I become of just how empty my soul tends to be.
It’s a little bit like discovering that the inside is bigger than the outside, and the farther inside a person goes, the more endlessly expansive it becomes – much like the stable in Narnia’s final days and the manger’s babe in Christendom’s first days.
Growing up, it turns out, is not really about growing old. Instead, it’s a lifelong process of discovering just how much more growing up there still remains to do.