January 13, 2014

I’m Not Old, But I’m Not Young Either

I turned 25 today.

I remember when 25 seemed old. I remember when a lot of ages seemed old actually.

This means that probably some people (approximately ages 0-18), look at me and think that I am old. It was never hard to convince first graders that I was 103. In their eyes I have a husband, a baby, a job, an apartment, and probably no fun at all. That makes me old, right?

And probably others (approximately ages anything-older-than-25) think that I am still young. I am just a spring chicken, full of life and years to come. In their heads they’re yelling at me “enjoy every second!” and “it goes by way too fast!”

Before, all I wanted to do was be old enough to drive a car, then go to college, then have a cocktail, then get married, then have a baby, and then...what?

What am I supposed to do now that I'm 25? 

Am I supposed to look forward to something else? My insurance going down on the car I don’t own? Renting a car? Having more kids? Those kids all graduating so I can finally sleep? My first mammogram? Going through menopause? Adult diapers?!

Instead of looking forward, should I start trying to reverse time? Chase my youth? Put Botox, plastic surgery, and tanning minutes on my Christmas list every year?

No. No, no, no.

Because I am not old. And I am not young either.

I am not young, because being "young" implies that I have a lot of years left to live, plenty of time on my hands. But actually, I have no idea how much time I have left on this earth. A few hours? A couple of months? 50 years? Even for those that do have fifty plus years left, is that really a long time? Scripture uses words like “breath,” “dust,” “shadow,” “mist,” and “vapor” to describe the brevity of our lives.

For he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.

The overused cliches are true: Life is short. Time does fly. And we never actually know how much time is left on the clock.

But I know I’m not old either.

Sometimes I think people associate "old" with "I'm done." Or "it's time to retire." Or "this ridiculously good looking body can't do what it used to." But if I’m alive, no matter how old I am, that means I am still being used by God in some way, still taking part in God's will being done on this earth. That means I am being sanctified each and every day through the Holy Spirit. It’s not time to give up or throw in the towel. It’s not time to retire or tell myself I have worked long enough, that I have done a “good enough” job so I can relax now.

Yes, bodies can put on many years. They can get tired and frail, and sickness can overcome them. Yes, people go through different stages in life and carry different responsibilities. But that doesn't change the fact that there is work to be done, and God would like us to take part in it. Whether it is a beloved family member lying on their death bed, or a little three year old making a snowman out in the yard, we all have a purpose as long as we are alive on this earth.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

No, we don't have forever; we don't have all the time in the world. And no, it's never time to retire. There will always be work to do, and we are the ones God has asked to complete it. 

The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.

So Happy Birthday to me. And Happy Birthday to my birthday twin brother Kyle, whose life I forever ruined on his third birthday because he didn't get to go to Chuck E. Cheese that day, and to my family friend Kelly, whom I vividly remember sharing a hospital room with.

And may we all stop hyperventilating as more birthdays come around and simply keep at it.

Grace and Peace,