"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Friday, July 01, 2005

A Dreaded Thing Appeared In My Mailbox

A most dreaded thing appeared in my mailbox recently. A Jury Summons? An Income Tax audit? A subpoena to testify in a multiple murder and drug trial? My University diploma was being revoked due to unuse? No to all of the above. What did I see when I opened the mailbox? A big envelope with the horrid words "Welcome to the AARP".

Yep, Mr. Jimmy is getting older. I know because of the way I sometimes act and sometimes dress, it is hard to imagine...but, still it is true.

I instantly began having back pains, leg pains, blurred vision and felt like I had a craving for Metamucil and early bird dinner specials. All of a sudden, I felt the need to begin filing insurance papers in a logical manner like my parents do, the desire began to drive under the speed limit while craning my neck to see over the steering wheel and to call the children in my neighborhood 'whippersnappers'. I realized that before long I would be known as the strange old man down the street who walked his dog in his bedroom slippers and who had frogs for pets and named each one of them for Disney characters. Small children would avoid my house at Halloween.

After a period of time spent in self-indulgence and (almost) pity, I began to enter a period of self reflection. What have I accomplished in the past 50 years that is so great? This is what I came up with and hopefully as many of you face this same day in the coming years, you won't find it a tragedy, but instead a blessing.

God has blessed me with a good Christian family. My parents, my sister and my brother are all interesting characters in their own right, but we were raised with a love for the Lord and came into a knowledge of His saving grace as a natural part of our household teaching. I would not trade this for all the riches of the world.

God has not yet blessed me with a wife and children; however, He has given me the opportunity to have many children through the Student and Children's ministry at church. I have the chance to play with them, share my faith with them, make midnight Taco Bell runs with them, counsel them, sometimes burn illegal CD's with them, but always hopefully let them see that God is at work in my life and help them find their path into God's Will for their lives. Plus, I get to go home at the end of the day to a nice quiet house and leave the tougher stuff to their parents.

God has blessed me in immeasurable ways through the Single Adult Ministry at my church. From the passing in the halls at church, to the putt-putt games, to the cookouts and firework watching, to the mountain hiking trips, to the Bible Studies where we learn more about each other, to the days of moving each other from place to place. I have friendships through YOU that I am thankful for each and every day.

I have been given a good career. I realize that I have been blessed with this job when so many folks around are not able to find work or are extremely dissatisfied with their place. My secular job has given me the chance to use my mind and my skills for business in a very intellectual and stimulating atmosphere.

Plus, I have been blessed with good health and well-being for these years. Oh, there have been scrapes and bruises (both physical and emotional), but with God's help and with the help of those around me, I have survived. Of course, someday my doctor hopes I will learn the meaning of "age appropriate behavior" and stay off the roller blades and rope courses. But, don't ever think that my life is any different than yours. We all have those days and weeks and seasons of trials, but with God's help we'll make it through.

All in all, my friends, it has been a good ride. A good set, so to speak in musical terms. I would not trade anything that I've experienced, the places I've been and the sights I've seen. Would I have done things differently? I don't think so. Because the man that I am today is a result of what I have been through, and I am quite pleased with whom I have become. And, as I always will tell you, I am nothing without God.

I want to encourage you to look forward to the day when you get your AARP card in the mail. It is a time to realize your place in life, to look back and reflect, but mostly to look forward to the person that God is continuing to form.

And for today my friends, this is the gospel according to Jimmy (the elderly one).

Be God's!


At 11:39 PM, Blogger Helen said...

I, too, have no children nor will I ever. Blessed in so many other ways, however.
PS-That AARP bites! I'll be getting that soon, I suppose. I hear they try and sign you up early!

At 12:01 AM, Blogger shannon said...

Thanks, Jimmy. You put a good spin on my large-print whine. :) Your life sounds blessed indeed!

At 4:26 PM, Blogger Robin said...

Oh yeah - I've recently got that dreaded mail from AARP! Very funny post - I can relate totally.


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