Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Growing up is optional

Today I received an e-mail from my younger sister. It was all about great truths one learns in life. You may have seen it yourself; I know it has made the rounds on the Internet.

I have a theory about truth and that is: Truth is not universal. Still, I read and agreed with much that was on that list. Then it struck me that some of those comments would make excellent writing prompts when someone is stuck for something to write about but just has the need to write as therapy. So that’s what you are getting here.

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.

In my past writing I have often stated that I didn’t grow up until I was thirty-one-years-old. I realize now that I got married for the third time when I was thirty-one. Life was more fun when I was that immature person. When I grew up life became more enjoyable and I suddenly found myself much happier.

Now I have this feeling I should quote Paul the Apostle from my Bible.

1Cor:13:11: When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

I’ve heard others say that a certain child “had an old soul.” I don’t fully grasp what they meant by that. My understanding and comprehension concerning the depth of such a statement is very much like looking at an iceberg floating in the ocean. I can “SEE” a small portion of its meaning but I KNOW there is so much more to be known. In essence having an old soul implies that a child has grown up faster than most; they may even be seen as mature far beyond their years and possessing uncommon wisdom.

For me to grow up required a lot of conscious effort. The amazing aspect of it was that I saw so clearly exactly what needed to be changed. Paul said it so simply “I put away childish things.”

Whenever I needed to know about something complicated, all I had to do was remember every little bit of wisdom that my Dear Old Dad tried to teach me. He had a “down-home” type saying for every situation and circumstance that life could throw at a person it seemed to me. Jesus chose to teach using parables; Dad chose to teach using those earthy SAWS of his. One might not remember them if they only heard them once. I suppose that’s why Dad thought it was necessary to keep repeating them at every opportunity. If a situation called for one, he would dig into his bag of comments and spout it for me.

I don’t recall Dad ever sitting down with me and having “one of those lengthy talks” everyone else seems to have had with their parents, and yet, his words are so deeply ingrained in my character and personality there are times when I could pass as his clone.

My earthly father’s teachings sustained me for the first forty-three years of my life. My Heavenly Father’s influence has sustained me for the last twenty-seven years.

Dad wanted me to be worthy of my salt. Jesus said I am the salt of this earth. Dad wanted me to be a man. Jesus insisted that I come to him as a child. Dad said “stand up and be a man; fight for what you know is right and never let another man see you cry.” Jesus said to forgive your enemies and pray for them that spitefully use you; turn the other cheek and be meek and humble. Dad said “nobody is perfect,” Jesus said I could be perfect as His Father is perfect. Dad treated me like a child, Jesus treats me like his brother. Dad said I was irresponsible; Jesus says I am responsible for my own salvation.

One might suppose that I would be a very mixed up person seeing what confusing baggage I brought with me into my mature years. But my Dad also told me that the time could come when I might replace his advice with surer words of wisdom, tried and proven methods that would produce better results than his. “That’s what all men end up doing at some point in their life.” I hear Paul speak of seeing through a glass darkly until the one that is perfect comes.

I’m glad that my Dad lived to the ripe old age of eighty-two. Because of that opportunity to witness what I grew up to become, he himself had to adjust some of his thinking and opinions where I was concerned. You see; he was right about that much. Dad stopped treating me like a child when he began to see the mature choices I made in my life. Dad was a hard man but he had high hopes for all his sons.

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