Something I’ve noticed about growing older – I’m finding it harder to remember the answer. Now, before you roll your eyes and sarcastically whisper under your breath “O really, tell me more?” – I’m not talking about the natural absent-minded, general forgetfulness that accompanies old age. No, I’m talking about that cog we keep in the back of our head that seems to keep all of the other wheels in our life turning with prescient purpose. It’s a cog that comes in the shape of a question, the question we spend our whole life offering up various answers to – all along the way, retooling and upgrading our response. It’s the question – what is it I’m trying to do?
As a younger man, it seemed so much easier for me to answer this question. Back then, I came up with some pretty great answers – but now, I can only remember them as fragments, like so many irreconcilable puzzle pieces . . . vaguely familiar, but disconnected. It’s not that I’ve lost my sense of purpose, it’s more like I’ve lost my edge . . . more content to let the next generation do all of the dreaming associated with answering that question. Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to work – maybe forgetting how to answer that question releases me from the burden of needing to have an answer for it.
I’m not really suggesting that wanting to answer this question is unimportant – it’s just that it requires a much larger context before it can truly be answered. It’s the type of question that tempts us to reflexively answer extemporaneously out of the sophistry of our own default philosophical abstractions, driven by the impulse of our current state of mind. But now that I’m older I tend to slow my roll, and answer another question first, a question that requires a far more deliberate meditative response . . . what is God already doing?
Too often in my youth the urgency of my convictions fueled the self-importance of my bravado, creating for me the illusion that my efforts had heat and edge. And it wasn’t that my convictions were somehow misplaced, as much as they lacked the wisdom of understanding how best to make them known — in a more fully formed way. But now, so many layers of shed skin later, so many iterations of me later — I’m still convinced, and even more confident of my calling, yet I’m humbled by the path that calling has taken. I guess you could say I’ve grown tired of trying to do something important with my life . . . but haven’t yet lost my interest in knowing what it is that God is already doing.
It’s been about four years since my daughter Katy, and my daughter-in-law Faith, suggested that I write a blog – an idea, at first, I protested. I had no interest in becoming one more purveyor of extemporaneous opinions, joining a chorus of internet voices, all speaking at one another. But as I began to turn the idea over in my head, having long been a song writer, it occurred to me that if I approached it with the same discipline I use when writing songs, then I might just be able to create a few thoughtful vignettes that could offer a moment’s pause – a meditation that God might inhabit . . . so that what he is already doing might be rediscovered. So in the most modest of ways, and by the most understated of means, my calling has found a new edge.
Here’s a song I wrote many years ago out of the angst I felt back then
about my desire to know God’s will