“Verily every man in his best estate is a frail and brittle thing, yea, altogether vanity… Take him while his blood dances in his veins, and his marrow fills his bones; even then he is a brittle piece of mortality.” Ralph Venning 1669
Growing old is not easy but being young is harder than it looks… at least if you want to do it right. I’ve been thinking a lot about “youth” lately, mine in particular. Suddenly the reality that I’m not so youth-full anymore looms over me like a dark cloud. Not to color age with gloom, but for one who has not been there yet, and has not seen many appealing portraits in that season of life, it can feel a bit overwhelming. What I mean by all this flatulence is the relentless task of balancing vigor and value!
What age values, vigor scoffs. When a youth’s “blood dances in his veins” it makes one want to jump and climb and surf and explore and run naked and free! Unfortunately, many of these action verbs are not worth value in the latter years of life and so vigor loses. Only by observation can I guess at the values of the older. I imagine family or company along with financial security and medical attention all become vitally important. How one spent his youth determines, to a large degree, what he will gain in venerability. I just don’t want to look back on my days and say; “If only I would have…” or “I wish I could have….” And so the dilemma lingers like dirty laundry on the floor: do I dance while the blood still dances, or do I laboriously prepare and work for the comfort and security of the future?
Of course, I know the answer… one must learn to balance both. Perhaps that’s why the task is given to the youth by the older; the latter has the VALUES and wisdom but the younger has the VIGOR and the strength. We need each other desperately, whether we admit it or not. So here I am, growing in and out of titles and seasons, looking forward in trepidation and looking back in regret, grasping at what I cannot attain alone and letting go of what I cannot keep for myself.
“It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.” Proverbs 19:2