Christmas 2010 feasting...
Well, the jury is in: I'm an old guy! Not only did I have to go home from work today because my back was killing me (partly from the snow) but when Di and I looked over the family feasting photographs for Christmas... Well, let me just repeat her words: "Honey, we're over the hill and really look like... grandparents!"
Don't get me wrong, there are worse things to look like, yes? And I feel totally blessed to have been able to feast and celebrate with our small brood this year - the first time we've all be in the same place at the same time in over 10 years - so I am not lamenting. More like stating a fact about looking - and sometimes feeling - like an old guy. It beats the alternative, but is also humbling, too - especially in this hyper-youth oriented culture.
And that set me to thinking about one of the truths in my spiritual journey towards wholeness: when I was obsessed with my weight and the color of my hair, I was not only harsher towards those I oppose than I am now, I was also highly judgmental of self, family, church, loved ones and just about everyone else. One of the truly humbling realities that has seeped into my life over the past 15 years, however, is that as I have learned more about grace than judgment, I have gained more weight. Yeah, yeah I know that some of that is laziness (one of my New Year challenges) and part of that is genetics; but part of it is also learning to stop worrying so much about the externals so that I can give my attention to what really matters. No shit!
So it is an odd and somewhat ironic reality to me that the more I have come to honor the Spirit of Jesus, the more I have also had to accept myself as old - and sometimes too heavy - with a totally white beard and a back that goes out from time to time, too. No wonder I hold dear that portion of scripture from St. John where Jesus tells Peter: Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.
Could it be - at least for me - that to practice grace in ministry also meant that I had to learn how to let it be true in my own body? Hmmm...?
And while I am going to (once again) get back into the groove and drop some poundage before we get to Istanbul, I would much rather be who I am today - back pain, white beard and all - than the man I used to be: no question! I love how old St. Bobby Dylan put it: