Tag Archives: aging

at once, every age you’ve ever been | part 1

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“I am still every age that I have been.
Because I was once a child, I am always a child.
Because I was once a searching adolescent, given to moods and ecstasies, these are still part of me, and always will be.

This does not mean that I ought to be trapped or enclosed in any of these ages
the delayed adolescent, the childish adult,
but that they are in me to be drawn on;
to forget is a form of suicide.
Far too many people misunderstand what putting away childish things means,
and think that forgetting what it is like to think and feel and touch and smell and taste and see and hear
like a three-year-old or a thirteen-year-old or a twenty-three-year-old means being grownup.
When I’m with these people I, like the kids, feel that if this is what it means to be a grown-up,
then I don’t ever want to be one.
Instead of which, if I can retain a child’s awareness and joy, and be fifty-one,
then I will really learn what it means to be grownup.”

– Madeleine L’Engle
(Image: Kevin T. Allen is a filmmaker, sound artist and independent radio producer.)

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up for anything

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Today is my grandmother’s birthday. She turns 82.

When I asked her if it was her 83rd, she replied “No” with an exclamation point and said that she apologized for being blonde, but it would take her another whole year to get to 83. She said, “But I’m up for anything…”

This conversation happened on facebook messaging.

I see TuTu more now (TuTu is what I call her of course) because she volunteers for us at least one day a week at Area Relief Ministries. We joked at the office just today about her requesting to close up shop one day after the office had closed, letting everyone know that she would close up shop because she hadn’t finished what she wanted to finish yet. We didn’t allow it, of course.

Some of my stubbornness comes from TuTu.

So does some of my shortness, my red checks, and my fast sweating. Those all come from TuTu as well.

And hopefully, my willingness at 82 years of age to be a part of what God is doing with the homeless, the at-risk, the materially poor, the families in crisis…hopefully being wiling to take part in the work of the kingdom at 82 years of age…not 83 yet…is some trait of TuTu’s that I will inherit beyond my 5’8″ stature and red, sweaty cheeks. If my height, cheeks, and temperature are inherited from TuTu, I’m proud of them too.

Even more so if I will redefine the 80s and 90s as times to pour into what God is doing in the world to make all things new, it will be a proud legacy. As my boss at ARM used to sing, “Age ain’t nothin’ but a number”.

I teach class at Union University a few days a week, and it brings me great joy to hear from students and acquaintances, “You are TuTu’s grandson, aren’t you. She has talked about you.” To work to keep up with my grandmother’s social calendar might bring me shame, but instead, it brings me great pride. To try to keep up with the textbooks she is reading on New Testament theology and Christian history might make me feel dumb, but instead it makes me ambitious.

To TuTu on her 82nd birthday, you make the passing of time seem like a great reward. Thanks for the legacy, and for my red, sweaty cheeks. All my love.

Pine Tree

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