I’ve been growing grammatically older and crankier this week under the burden of an English teacher’s lot in life: editing report comments, and marking heaps of exams and term essays.
Until I came across this 94-word story, by Jordan Lamprecht, one of my Form 4 boy-men:
Today I broke the record for the most consecutive days of living. It is also the day that I will be the youngest I will ever be and the oldest I have ever been. Life is full; life is awesome.
He goes on for another 54 words. But these first 40 stopped me dead in my yawn-ish state of red-pen humdrum correctional superiority.
The rest of the week took on a different edge.
I had a surprise visit from Monica Davies, a girl I taught at Cornwall Hill College when I was just a tiny baby teacher. She’s not a girl anymore. She’s a beautiful, dynamic, super-qualified 25-year-old woman working for Green Peace, travelling the world and changing it. She’s all grown up. The oldest she’s ever been. She’ll also never again be this young.
I watched my four-year-old cavorting around the lounge with his undies on the outside of his pyjama shorts. Brimming with insouciant hilarity. So little-boy young. Then he climbed onto his baby brother’s bed to kiss him goodnight and stroke his forehead just a bit. So big-brother responsible.
My nearly-two-year-old soon won’t want to clasp his chubby arms tight around my neck quite so much. Galaxies of language and volition beckon him to bigness. But tonight I keep checking on him because he’s got a nasty cough and his littleness terrifies me and I feel quite astounded that God would place something so precious and so vulnerable in my care because, like, I’m way too young for this grownup stuff. Also, way too old to survive on so little sleep.
Murray and I went away last night. The boys went to my sister. We were just half an hour from home but far enough from traffic and obligations to hear the candles we lit and soak up some space and feel warm conversations land quietly on cold evening air. We’ve been married seven and a half years. Feels like yesterday, and a lifetime.
It’s been a week of opportunities that make me kind of excited. As in, ‘I’ve never been so far along the path!’ And realisations that have me back in my place going, ‘Wow. Who the hell do I think I am? I have so, so far to go.’
So I’m asking me and I’m asking you:
What does God want you to do with all your age and experience? How can you channel your wisdom?
And what does God want you to do with all your youth and vitality? How can you channel your energy?
Today you are the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you will ever be. Lean hard into the life and love of Jesus – the One who came ‘that they may have life, and have it to the full.’ (John 10:10)