This year I will turn thirty years old. I know this is quite young. I think I have most of my life in front of me, though who knows, today could be my last. When I awake I have stiffness in my neck and back. Sometimes certain foods bother me that I used to eat in bulk. On the other side, I eat things like vegetables now. There are several gray strands in my beard and my hairline has crept back far enough to remind me of my father when I look at it. Another area that is like my father is my little belly that remains protruded no matter how thin the best of my body may be at a given state. I am ageing.
Ageing is dying. This is a simple matter. Every year moves you closer to the end. You cannot go back. You cannot run away. You aren’t different or special when it comes to ageing. Some may look better than others over the years, but you’re still ageing.
At this stage many people renew their love for exercise and right eating. In part it is because it makes them feel better. I think for some there is this wrongheaded idea that it helps them avoid ageing. While it may prevent you from experiencing certain effects of ageing it doesn’t prevent ageing and there is no guarantee that it will prevent the effects. Treadmills don’t prevent cancer.
As we move closer to death we reevaluate our priorities and our worldview determines this process. We pity men and women in their thirties that act like teens, or in their fifties that think they are twenty, or in their seventies that deny their age. Why? Well, we assume there is a stage to be selfish: to party, to buy new clothes all the time, go to do this for myself and that for myself. Then we expect the circle of life to demand we begin preparing show the way for the next generation.
If death is final this instinct doesn’t make sense to me. If ageing is a sign that your days are few then those who live as if this world was made for their pleasure are the wise and those who give are fools. If I have seventy years on this planet why spend forty on kids and grandkids, students, and those who we see worthy of investment? Our only investment should be ourselves, because we die, and the world moves on without us.
Resurrection provides the rational for ageing in grace and for giving of one’s self. It is the hope that these seventy years are not all there is to life. It is a glimpse of another life that energizes us to use this one not for ourselves, but for others.
Some may say that truly good people don’t need resurrection or afterlife discussion to do good. Pragmatically, sure. Does it make sense? Not to me. If we live only a few years to disappear forever then we may as well live for ourselves, completely.