My first memory of what I’m referring to came when an aging pastor invited me as a young man to have lunch with him. I’m sure that we talked about many things in the hour or so that we had together. But one thing I remember so clearly… is seeing in his eyes the hesitance with which he admitted to me that he was beginning to have doubts about what he had always believed about the nature and torments of hell. I remember at the time thinking that age was making him soft.
In the decades since then I’ve seen that same pain show up again and again in many aging men and women– about any number of issues. Admittedly, it’s not always the case. Some of us seem to grow more brittle not only in bones, but also in attitude. Some are more inclined to see winds of change only in the young and not in the old.
But the changes of perspective that I have seen in older people, including myself, leave me with the thought that the years don’t just multiply our days. The decades can also divide our ways.
- Certainly true
- Probably true
- Possibly true
- Probably false
- Possibly false
- Certainly false
Which means that the number of things we are sure about can become less…even as our perspective and certainty about what is important grows, and deepens…
Would be interested to know whether you’ve seen something similar, and what kind of questions, concerns, and reassurances it has raised…
Note: I took the picture of the buckets on a 2008 visit to a Jerusalem archeological project in which construction debris that had been controversially removed from a “holy site” was being painstakingly sorted into pieces of i.e. glass, pottery, metal.