February 24, 2012
I don’t think I have ever been at a stage in my life in which I have been so acutely aware of the differences between generations and also so aware that my peer group has moved into a new phase of life. It surprises me to notice that there is a whole generation of adults who are younger than me. Actual adults, with an entirely different life experience than I have had. And at the same time, it feels like the people my age are coming into their own as a group, as if suddenly the people from my generation matter and have a voice. Perhaps you have experienced an awareness that you and your cohorts at arrived at a previously unsuspected stage of life as well.
Much of this awareness of aging is probably linked to our awareness of mortality, which is meant to be a primary focus of Ash Wednesday. However, I don’t really think that my reflections lately have been about my own death. I think I have been cogitating more on a sort of progression of phases. I have become a big believer in the “to everything there is a season” philosophy of the writer of Ecclesiastes. Probably for a decade now I have understood more and more that it is just not possible to do the things in one phase of life that we do in another. They all have blessings, but not all of those blessings are available to us at the same time. We are definitely in the “busy” phase right now. Kids, work, church, one thing after another. It is really an abundance of blessings, an embarrassment of riches that Matt and I have right now. To complain about being tired, worn out, or overcommitted seems to negate the immense thankfulness for all those things that make us so busy. That is the phase we are in right now.
Another side of this coin of generational or life stage awareness though is seeing other people move out of and into different phases for themselves. Spouses die, people retire, children are born, students graduate, lovers marry…all the things that show us that life is marching on. God did not create us to be stagnant, but to continue to dance to the tune that we are being played in each beautiful, uniquely blessed phase of life. It can be hard to accept that we are transitioning to a new time. It can cause discomfort and sometimes pain. But life never stands still. And God does not want us to stand still. God wants us to celebrate the blessings that we have as they exist now. Always wonderful, always available to us, if only we accept.