For years I have heard people say that you age in your mind before you age in your body. I thought I knew what that meant and I could imagine what it would be like, that is, until I went to India a few weeks ago. Then I experienced it for real. As you all know all my vacation plans were interrupted. I landed into a host of problems starting with arriving on the wrong date and not finding anyone at the airport to take me home or to welcome my friends to India. Whose mistake was it? Mine; no one else’s. I told them the wrong date of our arrival! You might ask, “How could you do that?” That is a long story for another time.
But it was a blessing in disguise because had I arrived a day later I would not have been able to support my family at the death of my niece’s husband, at the time I was scheduled to arrive! His death was a tragic accident and then from there it went downhill with one thing after another. Stress! All around stress! After the first two days I felt like I was 75! I felt like it, I acted like it, and of course it was not a bad thing, but I was there for vacation. On the plus side, I was respected more, listened to, and my words carried heavy weight. I felt good about that but I was very tired both internally and externally.
Then I realized one thing that I enjoyed―being respected and listened to. But I surely did not want every word I said to weigh a ton. I wanted to be light in every way. I just wanted to see the sunrise and sunset, hear the birds, and listen to the gentle wind. I wanted to enjoy the rain and listen to the crickets and frogs. I just wanted to live life every day without the weight of the problems that bogged me down. I did not want to be responsible for too many things other than those that were fun for my babies and family.
I have had problems in life in the past and I am sure I will have problems in the future but I did not want God to exhaust them all in one month while I was on vacation! (Am I supposed to knock on wood here or what? All we have is plywood.) Problems and difficulties, stress and stress again make us feel like we are aging faster than we actually are.
Now that was just a glimpse of my life’s problems during my vacation. How about problems and struggles for you? I am sure with all the problems going on in the world of dollars and Euros, many of you are anxious. I know for a fact that some of you have lost tens of thousands from your retirement accounts and other investments. All of a sudden we are aware that life becomes hard to live happily every day. Anxieties take over and stay for the night.
So, stop for a minute. I do not want you to age like I did while I was in India. Aging is not bad; actually it is a wonderful blessing. But let us not carry a ton of weight in our hearts with the fears of life that drag us down. In every stressful situation we face, sweating blood, there is a shade that brings coolness. Begin to enjoy those things that do not require money―our children, families, church, parks, gardens, walks, community, and how about God?
How about enjoying God for a change? How about being with the people of God? How about letting our fears reach toward the hands and heart of God like the woman in the crowd? For now let us not worry about faith. As I said on Sunday, God will interrupt his journey for you, if only you will reach out for God.
I feel young again and my body feels young again. Now I know what it feels like being old and being young! I am young with God and old without. There is still life out there and life in abundance if only I can open my eyes. Life around us is vibrant and ever new.
We are only young as long as we are able to see and change along with the changing life around us. God is in the midst of all that is changing but not change itself. Therefore let us remain young at heart, vibrant in mind and ever new in spirit with that is unchanging and eternal – God.
Blessings in abundance as you read this.
(C) Fr. Jos Tharakan