by Ken Rolheiser
Tick tick says the clock

Tick, says the clock, tick, tick,
What you have to do, do quick

So goes a Cameroon children’s song usually sung at the end of the school day.

I want to direct this article in part to the more than 2,000 Grade 12 students I taught over the years. You may feel that you are powerful, invincible. That you will live forever in this time… but I have seen some of you move on to your eternal kingdom. Others have struggled with illness and carry permanent marks of our fragile human condition.

I don’t want to scare anyone. I just want to share some good news that is often forgotten as we grow and leave home. If you can, go back to your childhood Christmases and remember the simple joy of Faith and love you experienced.

I recently spent time with my grandchildren, and as I put my young grandson to sleep I was inspired with a metaphor worth sharing with my readers, especially the younger ones.

God is like a Grandparent looking after us. He bends over us, patting us on the shoulder and whispering support. We may resist and arch our backs, and restlessly toss and turn, but God has patience. He knows that eventually we will come around to a more prodigal attitude.

Here is where earthly grandparents come in. In the faith they coddle their children and grandchildren, praying for them, sacrificing for them. Sometimes our parents are called home early, but they continue to lean from heaven with support and intercessory power.

When I tuck my grandson in at night I know that I can out wait him and that eventually he will fall asleep. I pat him gently, often with a light touch to let him know I am still near. If necessary I pick him up and rock him again.

Tell me, does God not care more for us than an earthly parent? Though a mother forget her child, God will not abandon you (Isaiah 49:15). And we are blessed with family and community members who continue to pray for us, and will continue to support us even after God calls them home from their service.

Even as flawed humans we can embrace rebellious children and surround them with love. How much more does God embrace us and wait for us to come back to that relationship of love that we sometimes abandon.

As seniors we more readily realize that the clock is ticking. The life expectancy of Saskatchewan seniors is 77 for men and 82 for women. A pastor recently asked, “How many more Sundays does that give you? How many more weeks to be faithful and to grow in Grace?”

This question is not just for seniors. We all have an expiry date. We should have a “best before” date as well. The great news is that we can still get better.

“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!’ ” (Browning “Rabbi Ben Ezra”)

I conclude with these thoughts:
You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream. (C.S. Lewis)
Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young. (Benjamin Franklin)

(577 words)