I’m fascinated by the concept of “perspective… the big picture”. Wisdom always requires perspective. Parents play a major role in helping their children with perspective. It’s amazing how the disappointments of a child or teenager can seem overwhelming to them, yet a parent can provide “perspective”…. reminding them that it’s not the end of the world…. that there will be other opportunities… that you may have lost the battle, but you can win the war”.
I still remember disappointments of not getting a certain award, or not getting into a particular school, of not getting a certain job, or even getting the cold shoulder from the proverbial “Gina Lolabrigida”…. yet in time, I realized that they were not that important.
The other day I got another shot of perspective. I’m privileged to know a number of men in their mid 80’s and even early 90’s…some are widowers. For them, “the things of this world are growing strangely dim”. Things that they focused on in the past are not as important. Their “primary” focus is no longer on their career, on raising their family, on finances, even their health. Certainly they care about all of those things, but the “primary” focus is moving away from these to another area. They speak more of making sure “their bags are packed”. For those who have lost a beloved spouse, their life on this earth will never be the same…nothing will ever replace this love. Their gaze is more and more on heaven, on being with the Lord and those loved ones who have passed away.
It’s beautiful to behold. These holy men have a peace that comes from knowing the things of this world are passing away. They still love life and love the brothers and sisters around them, and still do their duty in wonderful ways; they are increasingly beautiful witnesses to Christ….yet you see and hear a “distancing” from this world. They are growing in holiness. They are truly becoming more and more like Christ. It’s such a privilege to know these men. I feel I change every time I’m with them.
So, where do we go from here? For those who are not at this point in their life, it’s right and good to have energy and zeal for this life. It’s right for young parents to build their life and raise their children …excited for new opportunities. It’s right for those in positions of leadership to use all their gifts to build up the kingdom of God. We must all live with zeal the life that God has given us. Let’s appreciate and support all those around us…young and old. But in all things , for all people young or old, Jesus must be first. Christ is the source of our peace and joy. Whether beginning our life or approaching the end, may we cling to the Lord…. and all will be well with my soul.
P.S. As these wonderful men grow in holiness, the only ones I see who may be exceeding them are their holy wives…. which is also a very good thing.