Allow me to indulge myself, just a little bit if you don’t mind, and get away from the political scene for a wee while.
Five years ago to the day, I posted a piece in my SONday Blog extolling the fact that I had just entered the golden age of ‘Age’ – ie that period of life referred to by Moses as “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”
As is evident from the bio in my books, blogs, website, FB and/or any other popular forms of media, I have been led these many decades (now getting nigh on too many to count) by a biblical guiding principle (also from Moses) that runs “So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Well dear friends and onlookers, here I am at yet another milestone, and that is five years on from my entering Moses’ territory. In other words, entering my 75th year this very day. An occasion that deserves recognition from George Peele’s Sonnet:
His golden locks Time hath to silver turn’d; O Time too swift, O swiftness never ceasing! His youth ‘gainst time and age hath ever spurn’d, But spurn’d in vain; youth waneth by increasing: Beauty, strength, youth, are flowers but fading seen; Duty, faith, love, are roots, and ever green.
From George Peele’s Sonnet: A Farewell To Arms, 1590
Thus, it was with a certain degree of trepidation that I entered into the Moses’ aforementioned threescore and ten; not quite ready to fly away just then, but definitely aware that more of my life was now behind me, than waiting up ahead; what I like to describe as having more life left than years!
Five years ago I also took some comfort from the blessed assurance of genealogical evidence from both branches of our family tree, indicating impressive longevity in some (both male and female) despite the many ills of:
Outdoor toilets; pipe smoke; cooking with lard; working in coal mines and cotton mills; cooking over open flame fires; using water straight from the tap or the well; bathing once a week (generally Saturday nights) in a tin tub in front of an open fire; taking a daily bottle of Guinness to bed (for “digestive” purposes of course); slathering butter over everything; having three squares a day beginning with fried eggs, bacon, sausage, black puddings, fried tomatoes, mushrooms (and not forgetting fried bread) for breakfast; working 12 hours a day; raising big families; and fighting in two world wars.
Consider that that was just for starters, the perils of Britain’s National Health Service and America’s dastardly Obamacare being far off into the distant future.
Birthed as I was, into this milieu in the middle of WWII while most of the male family members were engaged in defeating the Axis of evil, what have I learned from Moses these past 70 years, (now 75) and what view from these lofty 7 storeys plus the new 5 of high-rise experience?
Well naturally, there are many thoughts that come to mind, but a simplistic three will suffice for now.
Number One: I’m thankful that I was born. Without going into too much detail, my birth was complicated following an earlier miscarriage of some sort, and came right after what might well have been an older brother. Had that happened, I likely wouldn’t have come along, nor would my sister, who arrived two years after me (almost to the day). My “right to life” came from God himself, and no one else.
Number Two: I’m grateful that I was born into a family of caring, loving, devoted parents and extended family members who, while not being what you might call “overly churched” nor spiritually-motivated, nevertheless were wonderful relatives, neighbors, advisers, friends, listeners, entertainers, revelers, and educators; by their example, work ethic, honor, and commitment to each other, they became excellent role models for my sister and I to follow. Thankfully, they knew that marriage was consecrated between a man and a woman, that children needed both a father and a mother, and embraced the concept fully.
Number Three: I’m humbled that even in my wildest years, God had the audacity to have Jesus Christ come knock, knock, knocking on my spiritual door to redirect me into his plan for my life. And even throughout the barren years, when I kept rejecting his insistent advances, I’m humbled that the Shepherd, who is now my companion and friend, chose two wonderful mothers for my sons, one who birthed Andrew, and the other who brought forth Kyle and Bryce. Without them, I now wouldn’t be extolling the blessings that they have been in my life, and the joy abounding from witnessing three sons accomplishing mighty things.
No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
John Donne, No Man is an Island, Meditation XVII, 1624
As to the admonition of Moses “and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow,” I fully intend to be laboring on in the tradition of “blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing,” since the promise is “of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him a ruler over all that he hath.” And finally, as to “for it is soon cut off, and we fly away,” Moses reminds me constantly “for a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.”
So there you have it. Three lessons of life impressed upon me after 75 years on this planet.
I don’t like to think about, nor do I dwell upon, the prospect of death, but it is after all, the destiny we all share. We could debate for hours on the merits of where the final depot is or isn’t, yet I do believe in my heart of hearts, that hell is full of believers – what I term my “oops” theory. Atheists and God-haters spend lifetimes denying what is inevitable.
I am still blessed with good health, good cheer, good demeanor. I savor every moment, cherish every hour, enjoy every day. The older I get, the simple joyful things of life become more precious than ever, and thus I try my darnedest to focus only on the good – God and Jesus Christ, love, family, friends, and my writing – and forget about all the other stuff that ultimately I have little to no control over.
Even the Dallas Cowboys ever winning a Super Bowl again. God Bless their trying hearts.
So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom ~ Psalm 90:12
Plus DGH Blog: Life as Art ~ Or is it Heart?