Monday, August 8, 2011
Older than Me
Some people my age feel old. I guess a person’s outlook depends on many factors.
My closet friends range in age from 30 to 85. Each one brings a unique perspective into my life. Though I’m the same age as her parents, the 30-year-old says she can talk to me just like someone her own age. Being around her reminds me of so many struggles I had to wade through to keep growing up.
My 40-year-old friend is brilliant in so many ways. She offers me tremendous insights into life, yet when it comes to hiking I can outdo her. In fact, because I’ve increased my work outs over the years, I can physically outdo myself at age 30 and 40. That may be one reason my 85-year old friend sees me as a lot younger. Yet she offers me the wonderful insights that sometimes come with age.
Though looking for a job at my age is scary—rarely do I feel old. Perhaps that’s because of two 90-somethings, who impressed me beyond anyone else I’ve ever met. One was the legendary basketball coach John Wooden. I saw him being interviewed a few years ago when he was in his early 90s at a LeadershipTraq breakfast . I’ll never forget Wooden describing his home in Southern California: “In an hour, I can be at the beach or in an hour I can be in the mountains. In an hour I can be in the desert, or I can go to Disneyland!”
When asked by Ken Blanchard whether the best was ahead of him or behind, Wooden replied: “Oh, it’s in the future. All the rest is in the past.” (You can listen to a three-part interview between this great man and LeadershipTraq President Mick Ukleja at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOb-Jzb5Q6s. Parents especially might appreciate the values Wooden embodies, but they are equally critical for anyone who wants to find peace.)
Few people would recognize the name of the other gentleman. It was J. Sidlow Baxter, an Englishman. He wrote many books—one that profoundly impacted me. Baxter was 93 when I heard him speak and he literally glowed with vibrancy as he taught a passage from the Bible.
Both men knew a truth I recently discovered early one morning. Upon awakening the thought occurred to me that age is relative. To a 20-year-old, sixty can appear old. Yet compared to the Ancient of Days—our Creator—who stands outside of created time—I am but a child. His child because He made me. A relationship with their Creator gave Wooden and Baxter their hopeful view of the future and a sense of looking forward instead of looking back.
Looking forward is one of the keys to dealing with fears of loss. While wallowing in the pain may be necessary for a person to get their feet under them, staying in that place for very long or trying to hang onto something in the past does little good. More on grieving the loss tomorrow, then Wednesday we’ll get on with moving forward.