I just celebrated another birthday, which got me to thinking about the “good old days.” You can usually tell how old a person is by how many times they refer to the “good old days,” or the phrase, “when I was a youngster.”
I have come to the conclusion that getting old is not something to be ashamed of in the least. A person reaches a certain age simply because they have not died yet, which is nothing to make a person feel guilty.
Although I do not think too much of birthdays, I intend to have as many as possible. Don‚Äôt get me wrong. I am ready to go when my time is up, but, in the meantime, I am going to enjoy life.
My recent birthday got me thinking about the “good old days” of my youth. Memory is a funny thing. For the most part, we remember the good of our youth and rarely the bad. I often hear some old geezer say, “I wish I were 16 again.” If their memory was serving them correctly, 16 was not a very good year for any of us. I am glad I have gotten beyond my 16th birthday. As I remember it, it was a terrible year.
I can honestly say that the best years of my life are the ones I am living now.
Sure, I have some regrets. I have done things I probably should not have done, and I did not do some things I probably should have. If I had to live my life over again not only will I make the same mistakes, but also I probably would add to the list quite significantly. I do not want to live my life over again. Once is enough for me, thank you.
But as I was thinking of those “good old days,” I could not help but think what I was thinking about back then. It went something like this.
When I was in school sitting in Ms. Ammon‚Äôs class, I was daydreaming about going fishing. All I could think about was what kind of fish were biting out by the lake this afternoon. Ms. Ammon would call upon me and I would have no idea what she was talking about. In my mind, I was fishing. In my body, I was suffering under classititis. It is what students, especially boys, get when they are bored with the class they are in at the time. It involves a lot of jittering.
“Where was your mind?” Ms. Ammon would ask. “I hope you weren‚Äôt fishing, now, were you?”
One thing about good ole Ms. Ammon, she could read a boy‚Äôs mind like a book. Maybe because there are so many blank pages in a young boy‚Äôs mind.
I would suffer through counting down the hours and minutes and seconds until the school day would end.
You did not hear it from me, and this is not a confession, but on those rare occasions when I would skip school and go fishing, I had another problem. I was where I wanted to be, doing what I wanted to do, but then as I threw out the line waiting for a bite all I could think of was what was happening back in school I was missing. I often wondered if Ms. Ammon was missing me.
I would smile and then the fish would bite and my attention would be on the task at hand.
It was not long before my mind would wander back to the classroom. What were they doing? What was I missing? For the life of me, I cannot understand why, but I could never enjoy fishing and when I was playing hooky from school for thinking about what I was missing back in school.
One of the advantages of getting older is developing a sense of maturity. Don‚Äôt ask me to define maturity, because I am not quite sure what it really means. As a person matures, he begins to learn how to enjoy the moment. This, I say, comes with age. A lot of age in some instances. By the time you learn to enjoy the moment, it is gone.
I have come a long way from good ole Ms. Ammon‚Äôs classroom. I will not tell you how many years it has been, let‚Äôs just say a lot. I still find myself doing the same thing.
I am in the middle of doing one thing and I begin thinking of what I could be doing. I could be home reading a book. Then when I go home and begin reading, I think about what I could be doing in the office.
I have tried to take a day off for many years. I just cannot seem to manage it. I take a day off and think of what I really could be doing if I was working. When I am working, I think of how much fun I could have if I was taking the day off.
I hope to live long enough to be able to bring these two opposites together in some magnificent activity. I have not got there yet. I am aspiring, to be sure.
David was right. “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalms 118:24 KJV).
The only thing I need to do today is to rejoice in the goodness of the Lord.
Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, Ocala, Fla. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at (866) 552-2543 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. His web site is www.jamessnyderministries.com.