If you ever want to feel old, take a walk through the Smithsonian and see toys you played with as a child. At once there’s a thrill of seeing something you enjoyed, and then a real downer as you realize those toys are exhibited not far from mummies and stone arrowheads.
I was thinking about this this morning as I got up and took a quick jog around the block. Want to know what it feels like to jog as a newly minted 64 years old? It feels a little like running at 32. I mention 32 because I was a the peak of my conditioning as a human being. The knees still hurt just like they did back then. The feet still hurt just like they did then. And it’s confirmation that I’ve always felt this old.
Granted, I’m not as fast as I once was, and things seem a little harder to do, but to go back in time and do it all over again?
I went through too much hassle to get this old!
As I ran, I was thinking of how much the world has changed since my birth. When I was born, satellites were still confined to the pages of Science Fiction. One month later, the Russians changed that.
Walking on the Moon was talked about, but no one saw it happening anytime soon. And on evening in July of ’69, I watched as Neil and Buzz did just that.
And computers were these massive, mysterious devices that very few had seen, much less touched. Today, we have computers we carry around, and in some cases, computers help keep some us alive. Just looking around my offices, there’s three computers around me. There’s even one downstairs that will talk to me and answer questions or issue reminders. (Want to have some fun? Say, “Alexa, open the pod bay doors!”)
My grandfather passed away about my age. About the only thing thing I’ve got in common with him physically is I have some gray hair. I still get around very well, have most of my teeth, and the same blood pressure I had when I ran marathons. But I think very little of that has to anything to do with me. It has everything to do with better food, water, and medicine.
Our world has changed.
But has it changed enough?
The world I was born into had every man, woman, and child staring down the barrel of Nuclear Armageddon. The threat of that is still there, and while we’ve managed to dodge that bullet for a lot of years now, the question remains how much longer will that be true?
We’ve had several wars between the day I was born and today. I saw one of them, and feared that to figure out who won that one, my children would fight the next one. I lived long enough to see I was right.
Add to that we’re facing other potential issues. The Covid pandemic reminded me of the book, The Hot Zone and how it detailed how something truly catastrophic could get loose. Scary part is that book is true, and how we really managed to dodge another bullet.
Then there’s climate change. The history of our world is a history of extinctions. One promising species after another has come and gone. So far, we’re the only intelligent species that has developed. But being the first doesn’t prove that there’s any survival value for intelligence. We are still the single biggest threat we face.
A big ticket item in the news is social unrest. I think the scary part there is that, despite our vaunted intelligence, we’re still very much the same creature we were tens of thousands of years ago. Humanity is still learning the same lessons over and over again. Maybe one day we’ll get it.
Perhaps the biggest problem I see today as vs that world back then is we need an answer more and more to the question posed to Jesus so many years ago, and that question is “What is Truth?” Today, more than ever, truth seems up for grabs.
But despite all that, there’s much to be thankful for. I prayed as a child that I’d never have a boring life, and God answered that prayer. I’ve been places and done things most people wouldn’t believe. I’ve learned more about who I am (some of it scary) than I ever expected.
And I’ve loved a beautiful woman with a passion few people will ever know. That was very much an unexpected bonus. I have children and grandchildren who think the world of me.
I battled my demons and with God’s help, beat them all. And most importantly, I learned what it meant to be a Son of God and to walk in the freedom and strength that title gives me.
So at 64 years of age, and at an age when my ancestors would have been dead in their graves, I’m still running.
And I’m grateful to God for every step I’ve taken along the way, and for the one’s I’ve yet to take.