Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Letter, To the Son of my Youth:

Ten years: Can you remember when adding ten years was doubling your life, and it seemed impossible to dream of the way things would be?

And adding another ten once you got that far – well – that seemed, at the first ten, to be sure. Because life's intricacies will be made plain by then, everyone of ten knows that. But upon arrival and looking forward to another ten, you're struck with it. You really don't know as much as you'd hoped. All the things you thought – there really are not adequate words to describe them. As if you just knew that the passage of time would add a lyric to the melody in some miraculous way, only to discover that what you see is more of a riddle than a song. You probably just need ten more years. That will do it. 

I asked you today how you thought life would be in ten years, and you said “I don't know”. It's childish I suppose, yet profound. When I ask myself the same question, I'm struck with the irony of life as it is – we never do grow up. I've got nearly thirty years on you, and I still say “I don't know” with the same sense of mystery and trepidation. 

Time has taught me a few things, one of which is how little of it I have: There are a great many things that I have a very short window left to teach you. How to be a strong leader. How to be a loyal friend. How to treat a woman. How to have courage to do what is right when it's hard and you're weary. How to fight for the right things, and not be drawn into a false battle by distractions and emotions. How to see the hurt in the world and show empathy. How to talk to God.

But I don't know how that will go. For all the things I've learned, and all the decades I'm looking back on, I still don't know very much about any of those things. I don't know what my next ten years will look like, and I can't imagine yours any clearer than you can – But I do pray that at the end of all your decades, you are formed into a strong character. 

It will take ten years, and then ten more, and of course, probably another ten and ten and ten. By the life you live - sometimes by the choices you make, sometimes by the circumstances that God orchestrates as a tool to shape you – use your years to become ready for the decades that will never cease in all of eternity. Root this life you've been given solidly in the Word of the living God. Follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit with confidence. I pray that one day you will be what all mothers dream of for their little boys growing: A good man.

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