I am one of the men at our church filling the pulpit on Sunday mornings until we get our new preacher. I brought the lesson this past Sunday called “You’re Only As Old As You Are.”
If I had any doubt about that Dr. Prato dispelled it recently when I went to have him look at my knee. He told me, “You’re 67. You’re a young 67 but that knee is definitely 67.” I did appreciate his kindness in easing into it that way.
I got the idea for this lesson from a cassette tape I have of my favorite preacher Jerrie Barber delivering a message by this same title. I made some different points than Jerrie and used my own illustrations though to make the lesson my own. I thought about sharing my outline with you but decided what I really wanted to do what tell you why I chose this lesson over many others.
It was because of a story from Reader’s Digest that Jerrie shared when he gave this lesson that really spoke to me that a woman had written to give the reason why we should not deny our years. This is what she wrote:
“I refuse as I age to deny my years. When asked at 60, I’ll be 60. When that question occurs at 75, I’ll take 75. For what year could I subtract: the one in which my son or daughter was born, or the year I first fell in love?How about one less favorable, like the one when I came down with pneumonia or one of those grief-filled years spent saying good-bye to someone close?
“Maybe I would choose the seemingly insignificant, that year I saw a falling star or the one spent not enthralled in life, just content with it. No, I think I will keep them all, the good years, the bad and even the not so memorable.
“To deny one would be to deny myself because added up, they are my life.”
I really loved that. When I retired from Gaston County Child Support, I read that to my co-workers and told them I was glad I got to share the part of my life I did with them.
I am also very glad and thankful for all the people that would be included in the events of life the writer of the article described above that have been a part of my life. And yes, some of these events brought pain and I’ve imagined at times, what if I could somehow go back and have all those events and the people associated with them erased, would I want to do that?
And always the answer came back, no please not that, they were also some of the best parts.
Maybe Garth Brooks said it best when he sang, “I could have missed the pain but I’d have had to miss the dance,” and I wouldn’t have missed that for anything!
I will tell you one of the things I talked about in my lesson. I talked about the importance of not trying to live in the past. Ecclesiastes 7:10 (NKJV) says, “Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.”
I said that trying to live in the past kept us from seeing the blessings and opportunities God wants to give us today, and that the past was gone and that all we really have is today.
I did, however, tell them I liked the Ziggy cartoon I saw once that said, “It’s OK to visit the past. You just don’t want to live there.” I said that certainly it was fine to visit those good memories from the past from time to time.
When the man got up to lead the closing prayer at this service, he commented on my sermon and took it one step further. He said he liked to visit the past to remember all the people who gave him the blessings that he enjoys today.
I was so glad he added that. The thoughts I shared that morning would have been incomplete without it.
They say you should save the best for last. I think that was it!
Rick Dominy, who loves to tell The Story, is a Gaston County resident and can be reached at 704-675-4862 or [email protected].