Aging is a funny game. It creeps up on you when you are not looking. Just for fun, this evening I decided to look up the Top 40 songs in the US for this week. When I was a child, I loved the radio. I especially enjoyed listening to the weekly Top 40 countdown radio shows. There were three that I made sure to catch every single week: Countdown America with John Leader, American Top 40 with Casey Kasem, and Weekly Top 40 with Rick Dees. In fact, I would listen to all three countdowns every weekend and keep track of the top 5 songs on all three countdowns in a notebook (I have absolutely no idea why I did that!).
So, tonight I looked up the American top 40 for this week -- now apparently headlined by Ryan Seacrest. Of the Top 40 songs, I had heard of exactly none of them. Then, I looked at the singers and counted how many of the artists I had heard of...I counted 4! Wow have times changed for me. Aging has a way of changing your preferences, doesn't it?!
My family just returned from a week together on a cruise ship. For a while now, we have saved up money for a couple of years and enjoyed going on a family cruise when we could do so. I remember the first one I ever went on -- I tried to gain as much weight as I possibly could. I tried to gain weight just for fun (oh to be young again, right?).
This past week looked a little different than my first cruise experience. Marcy and I went to the gym to walk/jog on the treadmill daily. I then went back with my sons to lift weights later in the day. And for dinner? Yes, I still enjoyed the bread, a steak, and ice cream. But, every single night I also ate fruit and salad. I even had several fruits I had never in 45 years even tasted such as kiwi, cantaloupe, and honeydew. I ate strawberries, grapes, pineapple, and watermelon. While this may seem pretty tame, for those who know me well, they will know this is a seismic shift in my regular eating habits.
I told my wife my goal was to enjoy myself on the cruise but to try to not gain any weight. When I said that I laughed to myself as I remembered back to about 12 years ago on my first cruise when I tried to gain as much as I could.
When did aging catch up with me?
Me and one of my sons rode jet skis in the ocean one day. I remember when I first rode a jet ski on the ocean and tried to see how fast I could go. No fear, no worries...just go as fast as I could stand. And this past week? I just enjoyed leisurely motoring along the way and taking in the scenes around me. I found myself in awe of the mountains. I was mesmerized by how blue the water was as I skimmed across its surface. The beach took my breath away as I slowly drove across the ocean. No personal speed records were set, nor even attempted.
I chuckled as I was driving as I thought to myself that I was basically doing a "Sunday drive" out on my jet ski. There was no mistaking which rider was 17 and which one was 44.
But, aging isn't all bad. It does also provide a little perspective. As I rode around the ocean waters I found myself with chill bumps, even in brutally hot temperatures, as I contemplated the words of God to Job in Job 34:
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
“Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb,
when I made clouds its garment
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
and prescribed limits for it
and set bars and doors,
and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?
I was glad I was familiar with that chapter in the Bible. One of the advantages of knowing the Word of God is the blessing of connecting daily events with Scripture and helping to worship the Lord all throughout the day. Those moments riding the jet ski reminded me of how big God is, how unfathomable is His power, and how awesome His ways. He created the sky, the sun, the ocean, and the beaches. He set the boundaries and He sustains that which He has made.
So, yes, I watch what I eat a little more closely than I used to (sometimes, anyway). I make time for cardio more than I prefer. And, I certainly ride a jet ski much more like a middle-aged man than I do a young man. I can't name any Top 40 songs and I don't recognize the names of the men and women who are considered to be the big stars.
Yet, I know when I see the stars in the heavens that they have been put there by the King of Kings. When I see the creation of our God, I know it is His hand and His word that has made all things. And I know that the Creator of all things offers grace and forgiveness to those who call upon His name. Age has helped me to be a little less impressed with the stars of the culture and much more aware of the Maker of the stars.
So don't be too depressed as you see the person in the reflection of the mirror looking a bit older than you expect. Instead, be grateful for the years of seeing God's power displayed in your life and let that knowledge lead your heart to worship all throughout your day! Allow the wisdom you are accumulating to deepen your love for the Lord. And say with the psalmist, "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!"
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