Of A Certain Age by Michelle Jones

I read once that potential makes good breakfast but lousy dessert.  Most of us believe that, don’t we?  Common sense tells us that fantasizing about who we could be is much sweeter than lamenting who we could have been.  The problem is common sense has never been a sensible judge of accomplishment or destiny, because we were created to be uncommon.

Let me be clear about something that may or may not encourage you to read further.  I believe there is a God; one supreme, amazing, spirit/person who imagined, planned, and fashioned all of everything except Himself, because He has always been.  His personality, His relationship to humankind, and His desires for us—as I understand it—are seen in the design of all of Creation.  Patterns repeat themselves over and over on earth and in the heavens, so much so that theories of big bangs fizzle not just in my religious mind, but my logical one.

That very belief brought me to an impasse recently as I looked back at what is likely more than half of my life.

Do you know what it’s like to watch time slip through your fingers like sand and wonder how much of the best parts of you are gone with it?  Have you ever choked on the ashes of dreams that can never be?  Is there a list somewhere—on paper or in your mind—of what you would do differently if you had known then what you know now?  Maybe you’re not hopeless, but do you hope less than you used to?

When we’re young and looking forward, our potential—and the plans we make to realize it—keep us energized.  In the run for our lives, they are simultaneously the wind at our backs and the prize we reach for.

But, somewhere along the way, responsibility supplants possibility in the contest for our attention, and our identity and the plans we once stood on with such confidence begin to wobble with the weight of our obligations.

We keep our balance by modifying and fine-tuning the plans to salvage what we can of our ideals about ourselves. We fall from self-made pedestals, a little bit with each change, adjustment, failure, loss, or tragedy until the ground gives way beneath us, and disappointment crashes into us from below.

The pain is real and we feel it enough to forget how good we felt dreaming not so long ago.  Which brings me to my impasse.

Lately I’ve been wondering when I stopped thinking my life was ahead of me and started viewing it from a rearview mirror.  When did I stop being ambitious and hopeful about what was in my heart?  When did it become resonable to decide that my destiny is less real than my disappointments?

Ants carry 600 times their weight.  Shouldn’t that show me endurance?  A caterpillar doesn’t wrestle in her chrysalis.  What does that tell me about patience?  A river keeps running over the rocks thrown into it, polishing them on its way to the ocean.  Is that not a glorious picture of perseverance, grace, and undying devotion?

Those patterns exist for a reason.  They are there for our benefit, to teach us something about how we are to live.  Why do we insist on existing beneath their example?

There is divine reason and purpose attached to me.  I was designed to succeed.  That truth is animate as long as I am.  Destiny does not have an expiration date.

So who are we to become?  Someone uniquely beautiful if snowflakes or butterflies are to be believed.  Perhaps someone as powerful, enduring, and life sustaining as the mighty Amazon.  Someone connected to a greater plan if we can discern anything from the very cells and systems of our own bodies.

I’m going to look forward as I advance on the latter years of my life, not wondering who I might become, but certain that who I am is enough to become whoever I was created to be.  I know now what I did not know then.  Why not do now what I could not do then?  Life happens.  It’s about time I returned the favor.

God Himself breathed life into me.  Isn’t it ironic that when I consider all He has done to show me that I have value in His world—when I look at everything He created to enjoy me and teach me how to enjoy Him—it takes my breath away.

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1 Comment

  1. Sharon said,

    February 12, 2010 at 3:11 am

    Word…thank you. This resonates with me. I’m encouraged by so this, especially “who I am is enough to become whoever I was created to be.” This brings to mind reminders that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made…I know that full well.” Like the title, as there may be some young ‘uns who may not quite catch this because they have yet to experience it–but if they come back and read this when in another season, more will certainly be revealed.


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