Some good friends recently invoked the saying, "Getting old ain't for sissies." I'm not quite there, but at 49 I am at the point where "all the warranties are expiring." I have to keep reading glasses around at all times. I have to do regular exercises to appease some angry discs in my back.
"In the midst of life we are in death," The Prayer Book reminds us at the graveside. Youthful vigor can blind us to this reality, although in this time of war and terrorism perhaps mortality will assume a more prominent place in the consciousness of all ages. Perhaps one of war's casualties will be our Western assumption that "religion is to comfort the old" as they approach medically managed deaths after long, comfortable lives.
The Bible offers a promise that our nagging signs of mortality can point us toward spiritual vitality: "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day" (II Corinthians 4:16). We are being renewed. This is not our own, unaided effort. We must look to the one who does the renewing. This is the Good Shepherd, always with us.
Chapter 11 on Wednesday.