The key to successfully growing older? Safely negotiating the seasons of life. This was me three weeks ago.
And this was me today.
When I left the house this morning it was 32 degrees. Yep, we've gone from summer to fall.
l am now in the fall of my life, the second half, the fourth quarter. The transition between the seasons of life is not accomplished in a matter of days or weeks. It's more likely to take years. Men today are not have-beens just because they have been retired from their job or because they have fulfilled their traditional role of worker. Life is one rich and varied season after the other. And the beauty one finds in each season! The trees I witnessed today were a kaleidoscope of color.
This happens only in the fall. It's a reminder that the changeover from summer to autumn is an exhilarating one. You can even plan for and anticipate it. Then, by welcoming it, you launch a preemptive strike against sameness and sourness, against retreating into the shell of an identity that once defined you.
You're just entering a new season, that's all, going through stages beyond anything you've experienced before. You find new passions and pursue them. You move from competing to connecting. You mellow out. No sweating the small stuff any more! You walk through every door of opportunity that presents itself. Your don't "retire." You redirect. And all the while, you absorb the blows of fate as you feel a greater hunger than ever for the presence of God in your life. The pain of loss, the alienation, the disconnection you may feel moves you to a higher Power to elevate his sense of purpose in your life. Each soul has a destiny. That includes yours. Our task as those who are walking through the fall season of life is to "grow down" into God. Then you are ready to find the passion that is yours alone. Some widowers even find a new life partner, for it is never too late to find love again.
"Every man desires to live long," wrote Jonathan Swift, "but no man would be old." Better still, the Bible says, "So teach us to number our days, that we apply our heart to wisdom" (Psalm 90:12). "I don't feel old," we say. And we are right. We are not old, just older. We're simply moving, as men did for eons, through the seasons of our lives.
May we enjoy the beauty of the fall, even as we anticipate the arrival of winter.