“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” ~Frederick Buechner
I detest when aging rears it’s distorted head and stares back at me. The mirror was never an encouragement, but is now an insistent and inescapable nuisance. Each glance in the looking glass conjures a nagging reminder that the end is not so far away. Unfamiliar aches pop up and disappear again like the weasel in a video arcade game that I can never quite nail with the mallet, and as I slip into my sunset years, it is dawning on me why seniors so quickly become emotional when words or moments trigger memories that cause either satisfaction or regret to erupt uncontrollably. Have I wasted the life God granted? Is there time to reclaim what remains and glorify Him while it is still day?
When such thoughts threaten to crowd out contentment, I push pause and reflect on names and faces. It is not the physical appearance I strive to recall, but the individual I have known and in whom I’ve made some small investment. If the statement is true that we are the sum of all the people we have known, I take solace in factoring into the equation. My great joy is my former students and parishioners, those that tolerated my teaching and ministry, and found a way to benefit in spite of my feeble efforts. Perhaps this is what Christ means when he chides to lose ourselves for the sake of the Gospel. It is not so much that our own flame disappears, but that we are rekindled as a spark in other fires. May the Father cause each of us to burn brightly in the lives of others to the glory of God.
“Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you. You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (2 Corinthians 3:1-3a | ESV)