I went to see the new ‘Alien’ film the other day (of course), though found it discouragingly lacklustre and boring. I can only hope and pray that it isn’t further evidence of what seems to be the ongoing death throws of science fiction as a serious cinematic genre! (At least there are Star Trek re-runs still to be had! So thank you Lord for that!) But I don’t say this by way of reviewing what I consider to be a mediocre film, but in order to make a serious point.
If science fiction can be said to be a major passion of mine then so, most definitely, is saving money. So I was exercised last week in establishing that our local cinema does indeed offer a significant discount for the over 60’s. But what I found so disconcerting wasn’t merely the realisation that I qualified for such in the first place, but that the two young lads who were manning the ticket booth didn’t ask to see my ID in order to verify the fact! In a similar way that for many years I prided myself as a teenager that I looked several years older than I actually was, for the last decade I have prided myself on the exact converse. That is, that most people comment that I look considerably younger than my actual age. Except, it would appear, the lads at the cinema! I found myself, as a consequence, just a little bit upset!
What, then, of my lifelong determination to never grow old? What of my promise to Belinda some thirty years ago that I would always be the strapping, virile young man then standing in front of her? Don’t get me wrong though! I’m not needing a walking frame just yet! But something has happened that I never actually, in practical terms, expected! I am actually, truly, really and undeniably getting on a bit. And I don’t like it! It hurts when I get out of a chair! (As Leonard Cohen once sang, “I ache in the places where I used to play!”) I get tired when I didn’t used to as well, and need just that little bit more rest than I did in the past!
It would appear, then, that my determination to not age hasn’t come to much! (How could it?) But what I am glad about is that something else I was determined about hasn’t been thwarted, and it is that, whereas growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely voluntary. And I can say with, I think, some confidence that, though obviously older in years, I have nonetheless succeeded in not growing up. And the words of Jesus, that His followers should seek to be like little children, has played a major part in me not doing so.
When I think of childhood as it should be, though sadly not what mine actually was, I think of fun, carefree-ness and sheer wide-eyed wonder. And I have to tell you that, precisely because I know Him who created all things be enjoyed, fun is forever my middle name. Not that I think for one moment that life doesn’t have it’s very serious side, but that even in the midst of that seriously there is still just so much fun to be had. And precisely because I follow Him who has all things in His hands and who controls every aspect of absolute everything, I truly do have little care. Again, not that I don’t feel keenly my responsibilities, or ever fear what the future might hold, but that I nonetheless sleep like a baby knowing that absolutely nothing I might ever have to go through can take me away from His care and benevolence towards me. (The Lord taught me much concerning this through my encounter with cancer!) And precisely because I love Him who has made such an amazing and beautiful universe (Man, just what would it be like to fly Starship Enterprise-like through the galaxies and nebulae like all good Trekkies long to do?), I have never lost that wide-eyed wonder of always wanting to know what’s just around the next bend, or over the hill I am standing at the bottom of, or across whichever ocean lies before me.
And all because of Jesus! All because of Him! The life abundant He came to give His, though so much more than such things, nevertheless includes such things…thus do I live as a little child in the way that really counts! That is, being young at heart!
But let me tell you what the really incredible thing about this is! Growing old is all about the passing and the passage of time, yet once we are glorified with the Lord we will be with Him in eternity! And eternity isn’t to do with not being in a place – we will be living on a completely new planet earth in a completely new universe, so just imagine all that exploring we’ll be doing with the Lord (I always knew Star Trek was prophetic) – it’s rather about not being constrained or limited by time! Therefore, not only do we have the possibility, as God’s people, of becoming like little children in this life, we have a guarantee that we will, without the slightest shadow of a doubt, be like them for eternity!
I cannot tell you just how much I am up for that!