The wise words come from young men’s mouths. Sometimes it takes an old man’s vantage point to put them into perspective. Sometimes, the words move this old man to a different vantage point.
My young friend, the rocker, sat near me today, and we spoke of dreams, and of rules, and of generations. I like to tell my peer group that I enjoy sharing my wisdom with the youngsters, but in reality I am collecting their insights, their brilliance, for my own benefit. Today, after the door closed behind the rocker, I sat for a moment and thought back.
Twenty-one years old–hmmmm.
At twenty-one, I arrogantly called an older man wishy-washy, because he admitted that he wasn’t sure a verse in the Bible meant what it clearly (to me, at least) stated.
At twenty-one, I sat in a music store much like mine and lectured the store owner. “You need to keep this place neater. Customers don’t like to see the clutter.” (I hear my own customers laughing right out loud as they read this!) I was insufferable, and hardly even took note of the frustration on the older shop keeper’s face.
At twenty-one, I married the love of my life, with not a plan in my head, not even a dream in my heart. I only knew I loved her and wanted to raise a family with her. I wish there had been some loftier goal, some grand plan to be lived out.
Work. Play. Love.
Today, the rocker talked of dreams. He spoke with a passion that I have only felt lately. “I know that there is something…” He stops and smiles, almost apologetically. “I’m not sure what it is, and I haven’t found it yet, but there is still something for me to do.”
He need not apologize to me! I understand perfectly. I have felt it too.
It’s just that I didn’t feel it until thirty years on from where he is sitting today.
We used to laugh at those who felt like they needed time to find themselves as we went on to lose ourselves in our work, our possessions, and our social clubs.
I, for one, am finally enjoying the hunt for who I was really intended to be. Oh, I won’t be leaving behind any of the important players who have entered the stage at different points in my little drama–the Lovely Lady, my children, my friends. They have all gone into the mix of making me who I am today. It is partially for them that I want to keep looking for that something, to keep growing into the man my Creator intended for me to be.
That said, we all change throughout our lives. Another fellow traveler said it to me today as she went out my door. “When we quit changing, we begin to die.”
I’m not sure if die is the word I would use, but we certainly lose the ability to influence the world around us if we refuse to move into a place where we can exert any persuasive guidance.
I wonder how many of us have actually found out what the something is that we are looking for. Does it remain elusive and mysterious for everyone else, too? Perhaps that’s how it is supposed to be.
I keep looking for a mention of the something in the Bible. Perhaps I just missed it in all those years I was growing up in Sunday School, or even studying to lead a class or to preach a sermon.
Surely there may be just one passage that says, “And you shall find that something when thou hast come into the stature of a man.”
Has someone seen that verse?
I’ll keep looking.
And while I’m at it, I’m going to encourage my friend, the rocker, to keep looking for his something. He knows that he needs to keep building the foundation while he’s looking.
When he finds it, I want to be there cheering him on.
I’ll do the same for you, too, you know.
“I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker, and I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker, and in short, I was afraid.”
(from The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock & Other Poems ~ T S Elliot ~ American essayist ~ 1888-1965)
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.”
(Proverbs 25:2 ~ NIV)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2013. All Rights Reserved.
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