CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©
PROBLEMS DON’T GIVE UP Sa 3-11-17
I always thought I’d eventually solve certain problems.
Like weight. As time has gone by, I’ve eaten less and better, and I’ve exercised more. Still, my weight keeps creeping up, because my metabolism keeps sliding down. So I eat less. The smaller amounts I eat are heavier on oatmeal and green beans and lighter on anything that is not oatmeal or green beans. But I’m still too heavy. I can’t seem to lose those pounds I really need to lose, even though I work hard at it.
It’s a nuisance, at best, to have to work at this all the time. Why can’t it just get solved once and for all?
I like people, and I like to be alone. I thought about this a lot when I was in college. Was I a people person or a loner? I still remember the day the light bulb went on over my head: It’s not either-or. The key to a good life is having enough time with people and enough time alone. I’ve had fifty years to work on that, but there are still times I get overwhelmed by people and times I’m lonely.
Why haven’t I figured out, in fifty years, what the right balance is?
Then there is living for today and preparing for tomorrow. I believe in living for today. This is the only day we have for sure.
Jesus told a story about the man who kept getting more stuff. He got so much stuff he had to build ever bigger storage units to keep it in. he was prepared for anything that might come. Except death. He died without ever getting to use his stuff. He should have lived for today.
But what if he had lived another one or forty years? There is also the story of the ant and the grasshopper. The grasshopper played all the day while the ant stored up food for the winter. When the snow came, the grasshopper was out in the cold.
There is a saying that in the perfect financial plan, the check to the undertaker bounces. In other words, you have lived for the day, with enough to pay for each of those days, until you and your money run out at the same time. But it’s like the chocolate sauce and the ice cream: you know you want them to come out even, but how do you get them to do it?
I have spent my life using a part of each day to prepare for tomorrow and a part, probably a smaller part, trying to enjoy that day. Shouldn’t retirement be when you can just live off the money you put aside in the past? It doesn’t always work out. A lot of old people run out of money and have to go back to work, or just do without. Sometimes I think maybe I haven’t done it right. I think maybe I should get a job and put aside a little more, or at least stop going to the coffee shop.
How come I have to keep working on this?
Problems don’t stop just because we are old and have worked on them for what seems like a thousand years. And they are not easy to solve just because we are old and thus supposedly wiser about these things.
The wisdom of old age is to know that, finally, death is the only problem solver; it’s okay to have problems to keep working on, because it means we still have this day to live.
I tweet as yooper1721.
I have often extolled my old friend, Walt Wagener, as one who is expert at “blooming where he’s planted.” Once when I did so, Helen said, “I want to bloom BEFORE I’m planted.” So I started writing a book of meditations for old people, sort of like my book for cancer patients. I called it BLOOM BEFORE YOU’RE PLANTED. I was never able to get an agent or publisher to be interested in the idea, though, so I’m now using some of the “chapters” for that book in this blog.