Our church’s Jr. High Camp is going on right now and I’m currently surrounded by nearly two hundred 12- and 13-year-olds. Half of the staff is aged 16 to 20 and the other half are 21 to people in their 50s. I’m consciously noticing the various perspectives of the different ages represented. Not just the difference between being 15- and 40-years-old, but even the little steps in between.
So much of the way we talk, behave, make choices, and live life is determined by how we view the world around us. Though our views are impacted by race, religion, gender, geographical location, who our parents are, and more, the one thing that is constant is that our speech, behavior, choices, and the methods of living are changing ever so slightly as we grow older.
I’m always amazed at how much life can happen in just two years. During the two years after graduating High School: I moved out of my mom’s and in with a friend, sold drugs, then quit selling and doing drugs, moved back in with my mom, plugged in more to my church (I was living a double-life while doing/selling drugs), was in community college while working nearly full-time, then enrolled in a 4-year Bible college, moved to California, and met the woman who became my wife.
If all of that life experience didn’t shift some perspectives, then I don’t know what would. The lessons God taught me in that short span have impacted me to this day.
Now I’m 31 and I don’t even think I could fit the last two years of my life into a book.
As people get older, life’s lessons either prick our heart or mangle our soul in an effort to shift how we view the world around us. My personal belief is that this is what God wants. He doesn’t want to slap us with lightning and give us all the wisdom and perspective we need at once. The process and grinding through struggles and triumphs creates the building blocks that the Holy Spirit uses to help us see things the way he intends.
Pastor Wayne Cordero said, “Lessons are attained one of two ways: through wisdom or through consequences.” The point he made is that we can either learn from people who have gone before us who share what they know, or we can learn the hard way. Most of us probably choose the hard way. I know I have a lot.
But when we want the path of wisdom and actually receive the perspective of people who are older than us, we can save ourselves so many bumps and bruises. I’m so thankful to have family and friends that are two years older than me, forty years older than me, and every age in between. All of them bring an incredible perspective on life and wisdom that I want to gain.
Proverbs 16:31 says, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.” I’ve found a few grays this last year, but don’t quite have my “crown of splendor” yet. What a blessing it is to have people in front of me that do.