“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
For several years, I attended a small support group comprised of four male clergy from the Des Moines, IA area. We met for lunch every Thursday at noon with only three questions on our agenda: 1) How is it in your church?; 2) How is it in your family?; 3) How is it with your soul? To this day, those conversations are some of the most sacred and meaningful I’ve experienced in my life.
At one of our lunchtime meetings, the conversation turned to the topic of time and age. The group was comprised of four aging Baby Boomers (of which, I was youngest…just to be clear). We were reflecting on our pastoral careers with respect to our age and the perceived responsibility and fitness for ministry often implied by that number that increases by one yearly. The shared experience and reflection went something like this…
Several years ago, I was told that, with a few more years experience, I’d be ready for this kind of church or that kind of leadership position…and, now that those few years have passed, I’m told that if I were just a few years younger, I’d be perfect for this kind of church or that kind of leadership position…We agreed that the key question was this: Just when was that moment when I was just the right age? What was I doing? Did I notice it, or was I too busy? There’s that moment when you drive or hike through a mountain pass where you’re no longer climbing and are not yet descending; that pinnacle moment when you are given this fabulous view and have a perspective of all that surrounds you that you lose as soon as you begin your descent…was it like that??
I’ve thought about that conversation many times over the past several years. When was I just the right age? Several times I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a question not worth pondering…but, I somehow keep forgetting the conclusion and before long am again entrapped by this pointless pondering. The sure remedy for this “stinkin’ thinkin’” is to look around. I see young parents in life and death struggles with cancer. I see other folks younger than me who have decided life has nothing left to teach them; they’ve seen and done it all. I see folks older than me whose passion and zest for life humble me. At any given moment in life, there is a possibility to experience that pinnacle perspective. The key is to remove yourself from that perspective.
When was I just the right age? Today.