Looking in the mirror, as the steam from the hot shower cleared, I began to comb my hair and realized I’d just pulled it off my face to the side, 1960s surfer style. Opps. My wife doesn’t like That Look. The incident made me start to think. Perhaps I’m headed for another mid-life crisis. But pushing age 70, that’s not likely. Isn’t age 70 when dementia begins? Perhaps I’m just losing my mind, doomed to wander from room to room in a stupor.
Thinking of the way I’ve changed since I stopped combing my hair surfer style, I cringe. Sometime at around age 40 I needed eye glasses—it was that or longer arms. I bought a pair of rather cool Rayban frames with lenses that darkened in direct sunlight. I wore them only for reading at first. As my eyes degraded, I wore them all the time. Surfer-styled hair, Raybans that in the sun looked like shades (dark glasses), and Levi jeans cut of into shorts with the frayed ends hanging loose. California Cool Kid. I never thought about growing up. Never though about aging.
In the years I spent on California’s northern coast, running among the giant redwood trees, where their forest meets the Pacific Ocean, I thought I’d live forever. I didn’t even own a vehicle, but rode my touring bicycle everywhere. I certainly didn’t think I’d actually need a cane from time to time to help me walk.
Then I met the women who’d become my wife. That was over 27 years ago. Soon we’ll have our quarter-Century anniversary. I could stop there. Most men would understand where exactly this is going. But I’ve started, so I’ll continue.
We met in West Africa—she an epidemiologist assigned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to a program for preventing childhood disease, I a Peace Corps volunteer and Health Information Officer assigned to the same CDC program. Our relationship began as friends and colleagues, blossomed, and finally bloomed. I was already hooked, in love, when asked to shave my beard just see how I’d look. When we married, I was clean shaved, with only a mustache. The mustache came off in a few short months. It took a while for my hair style to change. But it eventually did.
One day she looked at me and said something about my glasses. The Raybans went into solitary confinement, in a bottom drawer. My wife “helped me chose” new glasses. That began my experience of seeing the world differently. No longer were the sun’s bright rays filtered from my overly sensitive eyes. Now I could be blinded while I squinted to see outdoors. But that’s called “growing up,” isn’t it? Putting off the old childish singleness, and becoming an adult is a transition fit for only the courageous, the brave.
The other day I was watched a sermon and judging the pastor for his mannerisms, his pink shirt, his oddly colored glasses, and his octave-to-high voice.
Judge not, that ye be not judged.
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
There’s been transition that my life has taken, from sort-of wild to—tamed is what I was going to say, but today’s version of me isn’t necessarily tamed, just different. Mature? Grown up? I doubt it. I hope not. That would mean I was, you know, O L D. I have to wonder what that preacher once looked like, once acted like. While I cringe at the thought of the new feminized male that Hollywood Feminist and Feminizers have inspired, I have to look at myself, to examine myself, and when I do I am shocked at just how far I’ve come. There’s an advertisement for something or other that has a bunch of men sitting around dressed oddly and saying that they’ve become there moms. Another variation has them lamenting that they have become their dads. I don’t often wear hole-covered yard Levi jeans to the store, or tee-shirts. But you won’t often find me in anything other than Levi jeans. And not just any Levi; I nearly exclusively wear Levi 501 button-fly, boot-cut, low-rise jeans.
But looks aren’t really the important thing. They certainly don’t count when it comes to eternal life and my part in it. What counts? Have I changed in the core spiritual areas of my life? Have I been influenced by the new wave of Christianity—this Twenty-First Century New Wave Church that’s based on the lukewarm Laodicean Church spoken of to John, and recorded in his work we call Revelation?
G-D chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him, in love. (Ephesians 1:4)
And I still believe that I am chosen and destined for completion in Messiah Yeshua to stand before the Almighty G-D, King of the Universe, May His Name forever be praised. Separated from G-d, brought into union with Him through Messiah Yeshua, chosen for a life of holiness and eventually, when my time here is done, to be with Him physically. I still believe I live today in my body as incomplete, though spiritually completed. I am being purified, made holy.
There’s a song I like that Alan Jackson sings about not being given up on yet, as we are not yet done.
Working toward purity doesn’t necessarily mean living without sin. As Apostle John wrote: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8,9)
What it does mean is examining myself and confessing and discarding faults found. It’s like a hiker on the Appalachian trail. At the onset of the journey, he or she has a lot of baggage. It’s okay, too. Eventually, the baggage becomes a burden. It is discarded. There’s a way station in Georgia with a large box on the patio. Hikers are always dropping stuff in it. I imagine it is the same at all the way points along the trail north to Maine. Our destiny is purity. Along the way we drop a lot of the baggage, the sin, that we carried. We find we really don’t need it, after all. it didn’t get us anything good. It wasn’t all that much fun, really. It was a burden, and we come to realize it.
My glasses. I still don’t like them. My wife does. They’re meant to make me look soft, liberal. They don’t tell the story at all. And that preacher, the one I, to myself, criticized? His sermon was right on. By the way, it was part of a series on the things we have come to believe as true, that simply aren’t. Good preaching.
May you examine yourselves, and if you find yourself lacking, turn around and face YeshuaJesus, don’t run from it. He loves us. He will bring His own into a wonderful, perfect eternal existence, if we are willing to turn around and face Him.
L-RD Bless, Keep, Shine. . .