Mis-reading the Signs

It’s late.  Maybe, more to the point; I’m late.  I look around me and see the stacks of work yet undone.  The yard, in which I had intended to work this weekend, remains unkempt.  The scooter, which was to have been repaired before the advent of this Spring, has not begun to be re-assembled.  The gutters…what shall I say about them?  Oh, the list goes on and on.  Things undone, which I had imagined in my mind would be done by now.  I hope you don’t think I’m depressed again; down on myself and the world because of faults, real and imagined, that I see in myself.  I’m just attempting to be pragmatic in my assessment of my life.  I’m late.

The Lovely Lady and I took a drive this afternoon.  Temperature in the low 80’s, with the sun shining and Spring bursting out all over.  I would chalk it up as a perfect day, but the wind was blowing up a gale, which promises to make the night quite stormy.  It is April.  But, as usual, I digress.  As we drove down the road, my eye was caught by a sign advertising the business which it stood in front of.  I exclaimed to my passenger about the sign and then looked again, this time reading it correctly.  “Imagine Hair Salon,” read the words when viewed carefully.  For a moment there, I had read it differently, but in a way which might have been much more to the point.  “Im Aging Hair Salon” was what I saw at my first glance, and I thought it more appropriate for much of the activity which goes on behind those doors every business day.  

Funny how a mistake like that can set your mind to working.  Some people, as they observe the ravages of time, strive (with varying degrees of success) to stop the clock, perhaps even turn it back a few years.  The millions of dollars spent on hair color, wrinkle cream, and other snake-oil remedies are testimony to their fervor.  Others are proud of their graying hair and wrinkled skin, believing that these are proof of their wisdom and that they demand respect.  While we are instructed in the Bible to give honor to the gray-haired, some of the actions I have perceived by the aged lead me to believe that the young have no corner on the foolishness market.  The best I can say for them is that at least aging has made it more difficult to get as deeply into trouble as once was possible.

One thing I have observed almost universally, is the fact that as we age, we start to think seriously about the things we deem important in life.  We question whether we have accomplished enough.  Depending on our perspective, the things we want to achieve may run the gamut from financial matters, to the adventures we dreamed of, and if you’re like me, you start to contemplate the spiritual goals you have had.  The metrics may be the visible, gifts given, counsel offered, lives changed, but the thought is of those beliefs I claim to hold most dear.  Unfortunately, if I held them most dear, it has remained a secret to many around me, because it seems that like many of my temporal tasks, they remain unfinished. My zeal as a young man flagged as I entered my middle years, only to languish as other business slowly took over my priorities.

I think I’ll keep my goals to myself, thank you, but I hope to be more diligent to work on them.  I’ve still got a day or two left, if the Lord is willing, (maybe even a few years) and I’m going to keep plugging away.  My frustration is that I’ve waited so late to re-assess.  But, I’m hoping some of my younger friends will be encouraged to be zealous without tiring.  I’m reminded of the old hymn (which we never sing anymore) which encouraged us to “Work, for the night is coming, when man works no more.”  Or, if you prefer, the old Gaffer in the Lord Of The Rings used to say, “Where there’s life, there’s hope (and need of vittles)”.

I think I’ll take the correct reading of the sign and imagine what can be done, instead of sniveling about the fact that I’m aging.  There’s still some daylight left.

“How long should you try?  Until.”
(Jim Rohn~American motivational speaker~1930-2009)

“Perseverance, dear My Lord, keeps honor bright.”
(William Shakespeare~English playwright~1564-1616)

2 thoughts on “Mis-reading the Signs

  1. Greetings from Wordwise Hymns. I enjoyed your well-written essay, and can identify. (Another old guy running out of time.) But, looked at another way, we have just enough time to do all the Lord intends us to do.

    Your piece caught my eye this morning because of the mention of Anna Walker Coghill’s gospel song, “Work for the Night Is Coming”–on which I’d posted a blog. Depends what circles you move in, I guess. We do still sing it here. And it’s a reminder to continue faithfully serving the Lord. God bless.

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