by Ken Rolheiser
How to avoid soul wrinkles

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?”
– Satchel Paige
The story is told of an eight-year-old-boy visiting his grandfather. "I am going to be very successful when I grow up. Can you give me any tips?” The grandfather took the boy to a nearby plant nursery. There, they purchased two small saplings.

They returned home and planted one of them in the back yard, and the other in a pot to be kept indoors. "Which one do you think will be the most successful in the future?" asked the grandfather. "The indoor tree. It's protected and safe while the outdoor one has to cope with the elements." "We'll see," the grandfather said. 

The boy, now a teenager came to visit. "You never really answered my question from when I was a young boy. How can I become successful when I grow up?" The old man showed the teenager the indoor tree and then took him outside to have a look at the towering tree outside.

The boy asked why the outdoor tree was bigger. “It has to cope with many more challenges than the inside one." The grandfather smiled, "Yes, but the risk of dealing with challenges is worth it as it has the freedom to spread its roots wide and its leaves towards the heavens.

Moral: If you choose the safe option all of your life you will never grow and be all that you can be. If you are willing to face the world head-on with all of its dangers and challenges, the sky's the limit. Let your dreams grow!

“Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul” (Douglas MacArthur). When we give up on our dreams, or even our own potential, we allow our spirit to wither and weaken. Those wrinkles on the soul serve as a reminder of missed opportunities and the personal growth that could have been.

The benefits of keeping your mind active are reflected in the indomitable spirit and wisdom these seniors share with us:
“Love one another. That’s it. Just love one another. Oh, and take good care of your teeth.” – Anne, age 92
“Always stay positive. Bad things happen to everyone, but so do good things. Focus on the good and let the bad be what it is. Don’t waste time and energy worrying about things you can’t change.” – Lynnette, age 91
“Tell your loved ones you love them every chance you get. Don’t wait for a perfect moment to do it, just do it.” – Otto, age 86
“I am old, but I am forever young at heart. We are always the same age inside. -----"Know that you are the perfect age. Each year is special and precious, you can only live it once. Do not regret growing older, it’s a privilege denied to many!”
– Richard Gere 

Negative thoughts can derail the positive course of our lives. As a test, a professor once asked his students to write about a black dot in the centre of the page. All of the students described the black dot, trying to explain its position… etc.

The professor explained, “No one wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the black dot. The same happens in our lives. We insist on focusing only on the dark spots, the health issues, the lack of money, the disappointments…at the expense of everything else.”

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

(592 words)