Three or four times in my life I’ve awakened in the middle of the night completely disoriented. I didn’t know where I was or even how old I was. Once it nearly got me into trouble.
I woke up and sat on the side of the bed, completely confused. I suppose I had been dreaming and I thought I was a little kid again but part of me was evidently somewhat aware of my surroundings. My wife woke up and I asked her, “Is that you Phyllis?”
She told me later that if I had been a truck driver I would have been in trouble.
Who did I think it was?
Sometimes we are bewildered by things that happen in life. High-schoolers leave home and for a while they’re not sure who they are in their new context without their family. Children fly from the nest and the parents face confusion. Up until this point in their marriage, a big part of their definition of themselves related to their children and now that they are no longer at home, they’re not sure who they are.
A husband dies or leaves and his wife struggles. A man loses his job and wonders if he has value. Long-held positions are taken by another and the status we felt shrivels away.
We orient ourselves in life according to things, people and situations around us and when those things are gone, we can spin out of control.
I woke up the other morning and I was 60-years old. That can be quite a shock. I remember sitting in a restaurant in Charleville-Mezieres, France once, and glancing up to see a fellow seated facing me off to my right. As I looked closer I realized that I knew the guy. It was a mirror and the reflection was me.
It’s crazy when the man looking out from within you tells you that you’re forty and your mirror tells you something else.
Actually, I’m kind of glad to be 60. At 59 you’ve got all the negatives of that age without the status, but 60 has a certain dignity to it. I feel sorry for my friends in their fifties. One day they’ll be like me, if they keep living.
I’ve done a lot of thinking, though, and I want to make the years the Lord gives me count. When you’re 30 and you stand in front of the goal, it’s not vital if you kick the ball through the goal posts. You’ll probably have lots of other chances. But at 60 you feel like you need to score.
Fortunately, we’ve got a God who is faithful in all ages and all situations.
“Stalwart walks in step with God;
his path blazed by God, he’s happy.
If he stumbles, he’s not down for long;
God has a grip on his hand.
“I once was young, now I’m a graybeard—
not once have I seen an abandoned believer,
or his kids out roaming the streets.
Every day he’s out giving and lending,
his children making him proud.
“Turn your back on evil,
work for the good and don’t quit.
God loves this kind of thing,
never turns away from his friends.”
(The Message, Psalms 27:23-28)
So, if life has left you feeling disoriented, look up. Center your gaze on the Lord and you’ll find dizziness disappearing and confidence returning to the center of who you are.
It’s funny how the nation’s mood was at its most humble when its actual achievements were at their most extraordinary. David Brooks contrasting our braggart generation with the self-effacing generation at the end of World War II.