Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Here Comes Another ZERO!

I know, its coming up. The "milestone" day.

January 2, 2013.

Of course I've been thinking about it. Its an odd situation for me. I'm still very much a kid at heart. Indeed, I am "like a child" but not so much in the way Jesus had in mind. There is Christian joy and hope in me. I can't deny that; its a gift from Him. But there is also a lot of emotional immaturity. A lot of plain foolishness. Yes, its a mixed bag, again.

"Master, you gave me ten talents. I was so afraid that I buried five of them right away. But then I saw the other guys going to invest in the bank, and I followed them. I invested three. Then I took the other two and went shopping...." (see the parable in Matthew 25:14-30).

Age is also a funny thing for a college professor who has spent his life among young students, younger teachers getting started, experienced colleagues who are his own age, and the older generation of still very active teachers and scholars. The learning experience builds bonds of friendship between generations. In the pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty, we are all children. The "fountain of youth" is wonder.

Then, for me, "middle age" has been twisted all around by the fluctuations of my health. I feel much, much better right now than I have in the past. I have been down to the dark places of the earth, and have been brought back up. My aspirations have been simplified. I am grateful for the amazing gift of being alive.

I am alive, outwardly and inwardly. Thank God!

I must accept that I have constraints and limits, but this is helping me to focus on engaging what is in front of me right now, risking the capacities and the talents that I do have to respond to the real vocation of life in the present moment.

I also know that there is weakness. There is failure. I must not let it discourage me. I must trust in the mercy of God, and receive His forgiveness. Then I must begin again when necessary, repair what has been broken, and always keep struggling to do the good and to build up what is good.

And we are all in this present moment together. It challenges us to help one another, to understand one another, to forgive one another, and to give ourselves. Give. Dear Jesus, please heal me and free me, please enable me to love!

I know its just stumbling, in the end. My life expresses itself in the gestures of a hungry man begging for food; and even more than food, begging for truth and meaning, begging for goodness and beauty, begging for love.

And I shall keep stumbling and begging, because I can see the merciful Father running toward me with His arms held open.