"Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness."
I can't recall ever being truly afraid of getting older. On the contrary, getting older has always excited me. Maybe it's the effect of nearly always being the youngest in my classroom or friend group, the last to reach legal milestones, but each birthday-each new age I was able to proclaim made me proud. Actually, as I age into adulthood, I find myself somewhat relieved to have another year of experience under my belt.
Up until the past few years, the path for me has been pretty clear- keep plodding through school to get to college, to get to grad school, to get a career.... but with the poor economy and unexpected life events- my plan has dissolved into a world of unending possibilities. Therefore, I find myself often asking, who am I called to be and how do I become her? I am seeking out the narrow path, trying to discern the desires of my heart and to align it with the heart of Christ, but it's hard. There's a seemingly endless array of character flaws to overcome and disciplines to learn. It can be overwhelming and perhaps discouraging to realize I will always fall short of the mark of perfection, but it's also freeing and helps me to remember my dependence on God.
Embracing imperfection, surrendering brokenness and releasing expectation is where an outright mess become a beautiful one, where mistakes become happy accidents- those endearing and inspiring quirks that make a person relatable. I find myself planted in a rich community wanting to absorb all the wisdom of the ages, wanting desperately for people to speak into my life and tell me just how they got through this phase of life.
I find myself increasingly aware of the value of the Christian community and the importance of each member of the congregation. As difficult as it is to address the diverse needs of the congregation- women/men, children/adults, married/single, parents/childless, youth/aged, and on and on, I regret the segregation this seems to have necessitated. I don't want to ignorantly blaze my own path when there exists such a wealth of resources to guide me. Though I may presently be childless, I need children in the congregation as a reminder to come to God as a child- unguarded and uninhibited in my requests, without guile, and eager to learn. Likewise I need to see the succession of the ages, guide posts of mature and maturing Christians. They are models of Christian marriages, parents, friendships, retirees, not to mention the various vocations.
It's great to have peers to commiserate, to look at one another and say-"no you're not crazy this is tough," but we also need the older generations to turn around and cheer us on and maybe even to pull us along a bit. Moreover, we need the younger generations to kick us in the pants such that as they catch at our heels we are inspired to leap forward as they simultaneously remind us of precious lessons learned.