Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How Life Is Like a Comet

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Moonlight: Reflections on Aging

Live as long as you may, the first twenty years are the longest half of your life.  ~Robert Southey

Those of us who have lived longer than twenty years can testify to the truthfulness of this quote. Just as a comet’s speed depends on where it is in it’s orbit, so the speed of our lives depends on the point we are at. Farther away from the sun, a comet moves slowly. As it nears the gravitational pull of the sun, it speeds up. image

Our lives also speed up as we approach the “sun.” When we are young, time passes with infinite slowness. Are we there yet? Is it time to eat? How many days until Christmas? And then comes the day when it’s, “Oh no, (we’re already there!) (we haven’t cooked yet!) (Christmas is tomorrow!)”

For most people, regrets surface as they age. Opportunities not taken. Love not expressed. Lessons not learned. The Bible admonishes us to “redeem the time.”

My father was not a demonstrative man. My father died at fifty-nine and neither of us told the other “I love you.”

I tried on the day he had surgery, but my throat constricted and the words couldn’t squeeze through. He died at two o’clock the next morning.

We are not promised tomorrow. God has given us time to accomplish his will for our lives, but we must not let the hours, or even the seconds, slip by for our lives become a blur the closer we come to facing the “sun.”

But much can be accomplished, even in our “golden” years. Here are a few examples:

  • J.R.R. Tolkien published The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume of The Lord of the Rings, at the age of sixty-two.
  • The first edition of Roget's Thesaurus was published when Roget was 73.
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe finished Faust when he was eighty-one years old.
  • All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriott, the pen name of James Alfred Wight, was published when Herriott was fifty-six. He went on to write twelve more books.

Age is opportunity no less,
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away,
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Yes, much can be accomplished in our old(er) age, but why wait? We must redeem the time today before life passes us by!

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