When I was 22 years old, I knew it all. I was intolerant of people who did not see the world the way I did. I studied the scripture in college, read the latest books on how to do Church, and was on the cutting edge of culture. The result was that I often spoke without compassion or grace.
When I was 35, I realized I knew less. I had four young boys, a struggling marriage, and limited success in my career. No longer was I sure about some of the scripture passages because they raised more questions than I could answer. In addition, I no longer knew much about the culture that did not come from Disney’s animated movies I watched with my children. The result was that I still spoke with confidence, but I was learning to take it easy on people who did not see things my way.
Now that I am 50, I have realized how little I know. My boys are grown and making their own decisions, and I feel very little control. My marriage has more good days than bad, and I know I will no longer lead a large Church. Most of my knowledge of culture is second-hand from my children and conversations with people younger than myself. The result is that I am sure of what I believe, but I try to be more compassionate than ever. I recognize the need for grace in my life, and I am much more willing to give it to others.
I do not know what the next 25 years hold, but I desire to continue aging with grace. It is essential to develop firm convictions and know both what and why you believe. It is equally significant that we become more kind, generous, compassionate, forgiving, and full of grace with each passing year.
It is my conviction that the Church should have the most wonderful senior adults in the world. They should be people who have walked with Jesus long enough to be the kind of people others want to be around and eventually become.