Friday, October 19, 2012

On Turning 63: Some Reflections

I am now 63.  Some reflections:

Whoever said, "You don't have anything that Prozac and a polo mallet can't cure," was wrong.  The wrongness runs deep and healing isn't easy or simple.    I still believe and trust in my being an image-bearer of God, but I thought I'd be a better man by now.  Not saintly, but, on the other hand, not nearly still so ego-centered.

Looking back on those early years of marriage, I would have studied less and come home earlier.  I got the M.A. and summa cum laude --thank you-- but I'm not sure my wife got much.  I'm blessed and thankful for a wife who has been in this marriage not for what she could get, but what she could and can give.  

As a dad I would have yelled less and held more.  I'd have avoided less and attached more.  I can come up with innumerable excuses but no reasons.

I'd have rejoiced over the pearl in the poop instead of complaining about all the shit I had to wade through.

I'd have worried much less about what others might think; I gave their opinion entirely too much weight.  

I let fear govern or inform too many of my decisions.  Fear has crippled several dreams.  They are still alive but I am yet to pursue them, and time is running out.  Instead of merely thinking about and entertaining my dreams I would have acted on them.  I'd have pursued them and not allowed the fear of failure to stomp on my neck.  I refuse to give up and by God's grace I will go for it.

I'm grateful for what I'm becoming. The desire to be like Christ--the longing for transformation--is still intense. I do not notice significant change but am told by those wiser than me that the desire itself is a holy and promise-filled thing.

I like being comfortable in my own skin.  I used to hinge my actions and words way too cautiously, fearful of offending or upsetting the moral police.  Now they can ticket me all they want.

When I was a kid my best buddy and I would share a snack consisting of a big pile of peanut butter covered -yes, drenched--in  clear Karo maple syrup.  Each of us ate it by the spoonfuls.  A nearly unparalleled sensual experience.  An epicurean delight.  I need to enjoy more of the simple pleasures in life.

For decades  I have battled and continue to fight depression.  I regret I have allowed depression to win too often.  Too many times the lethargy, the lack of motivation  has caused me at end of day to wonder what in the world I accomplished, seemingly having nothing to show for the 24 hours--except sleep. Too many times it has nearly defined me rather than merely influencing me.  I am determined to fight it.     I am determined to rejoice in the light; I've spent too much time lamenting the darkness.

I still chew my nails.  Embarrassing.  How is this going to look when I'm lying in the coffin, hands folded and people filing by as they whisper about my unsightly hands.  Really embarrassing. I can't imagine how would they would react if they knew I didn't have any pants on.

For the most part I do not like aging.  I'm more forgetful.  I get injured more easily and heal more slowly.  Oncoming car lights bother my night vision when I'm driving.  I'm more forgetful.  I already said that.  I look over not through my reading glasses.  I don't want to die a crotchety old man.  I want to be joyful, I want to laugh more, cry more gentle tears of gratitude.   I want to inspire.  I want to mirror Christ well.

I can't think of a better note on which to end.  So I will.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Finite Understanding of the Infinite God

I've begun reading How (Not) to Speak of God, by Peter Rollins.  Great read so far.  If God is infinite and completely "other" than us some would conclude that therefore we cannot speak of God at all--words are useless and totally inadequate.  Others conclude that because God is infinite and transcends us it elicits volumes of words in attempts to describe or praise him.

He cautions against an easy familiarity with God and encourages a humility in our claims to know who God is.  Some people make all-encompassing descriptions of God as though they have him all figured out and any differing descriptions/theologies are, of course, false.  He urges us to hold loosely to our supposed certainty as to what we believe about God.  In that regard he tells the following joke:

A mystic, an evangelical pastor and a fundamental preacher die on the same day and awake to find themselves at the pearly gates. Upon reaching the gates they are promptly greeted by Peter, who informs them that before entering heaven they must be interviewed by Jesus concerning the state of their doctrine.  The first to be called forward is the mystic, who is quietly ushered into a room.  Five hours later the mystic reappears with  a smile, saying, "I thought I had got it all wrong."  Then Peter signals to the evangelical pastor, who stands up and enters the room.  After a full day has passed the pastor reappears with a frown and says to himself, "How could I have been so foolish!"  Finally Peter asks the fundamentalist preacher to follow him.  The fundamentalist preacher picks up his well-worn Bible and walks into the room.  A few days pass with no sign of the preacher, then finally the door swings open and Jesus himself appears, exclaiming, "How could I have got it all so wrong!"

Finding myself somewhere in the mix, I feel humbled but not shamed and will continue reading.

Hopefully, I will continue living with the tension of less certainty yet more faith.