Life can only be understood
backwards, but it must be lived
Søren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher
and theologian 1813-1855
Reaching the age of sixty has been an unexpected watershed, a defining moment in my understanding of myself. I hadn't expected the psychological impact of the moment, never mind the depth of power in the impact. I didn't feel any different on the day from the day before. I'm not sure that I feel any different now as I write this some four days later, but I know that my understanding of myself has changed.
Funny and innocent remarks have unintentionally given pause for thought. I find myself asking, "Am I really this old?", "What of the future?" and "Where might it all end?" I suppose all of us who creep towards mature citizenship are faced with these questions, because of illness, retirement or growing incapacity.
If I believe in the integrity of prayer, which I do, then I must seek to get into the heart of what my life is about. I must do so now. I have a lot of years to look back on. I must search for a pattern of unfolding purpose, some clue that will help me sort out what the God I believe in has been doing in my life for all these years. I know I need to get a grip of the present without being so intimidated by the impact of my four-day-old new age. If I can accept and hold the clues I find, then the impact of the present watershed will reassure me for that which is to come.
So in faith, and with an undaunted inquisitiveness, I shall look forward. If I am afraid of anything, it is that I shall discover I have misread or ignored the clues, the signs and the unfolding pattern and have little time to put things right.
So, when older acquaintances and friends tell me I'm still young, it gives me confidence and time to sort my life out, in my own way, and in my own prayer, looking backwards and living forwards.
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