In The Face Of The Old:
(Click for Audio) In the face of the those around me that are older, I see a weariness born from years in the saddle.
You know, they’ve been around the block a time or two.
You may not even recognize their younger self were you to see them side by side, separated by a generation of time, and the weight of the world resting in every cell of their body.
One looks young, ready to face the world. The other looks, well, older, and more contemplative of the world behind, and life before.
Their countenance is heightened by the years they’ve lived. Wrinkles, hair color, receding hair lines, and all the other typical age related issues. But see them in the light of their youth, and you may only glimpse who they once were, or who they could become.
I saw a picture of a cousin I have only met when she was real young. Toddler, I suspect. I think. I happened upon her Facebook page and in one of her pictures I could see her mom. It struck me how similar they were from some part of my memorized past. Facial features. Hair color. And even that same gaze. I’ve not told her of my observation so I will not reveal it here, but think about the differences we have with our younger self, and then think about the image we portray in our children, and how our children can innocently look like us and not even realize it.
This week, Adam West passed away. He was 88. He was born in Walla Walla, Washington, back in 1928, and was nearing 40 years of age when his fame as Batman began in the 60’s. I do not remember much of his series, I’m not even sure anyone I knew paid attention to the TV show. But we all knew who he was. The picture on the web this week showed him next to a grown up and totally different looking Robin, who I would never have recognized on the street. But in the face of Adam, I think most will always see him as Bruce Wayne. AKA, Batman!
All of this got me to thinking how we struggle with seeing the young person in the face of the older, or what a young person may become and what they will someday look like. In my mind, I will always have that look of a person from my school pictured days. Six years old at Deep Water Elementary. Stripped red and white shirt. Age 15 at Channelview High School, where my nickname of Curly Gurley can be seen in my hair-do! 19 when we married, looking confident and scared at the same time. Age 23 when I became a dad, and feeling the stress of what it truly means to be a parent. Fast forward nearly 40 years to age 62, I’m not much into having my picture taken, but I can recall what I looked like in those former years, and in many ways I am still that younger person.
Am I what I ever thought
I would some day be?
I’m not sure my younger self had any clue.
Just thinking, this morning…. He was born and became an immediate favorite of his father, over all his brothers, because Joseph was the son born of his older years. (Genesis 37:3) His brothers were jealous at his favored status, and when the opportunity arose, they sold him into slavery, lied to their father, telling him he had become a victim of a wild beast. Joseph entered a hard life, but also a blessed life, eventually becoming the second highest authority in Egypt (Genesis 41:43).
Just 4 chapters long, his time at home, and then life in a foreign country, it is a pretty well known story. When famine hit the land, his brothers came to him for sustenance, not even recognizing him in his older years (Genesis 42:3), but Joseph knew every one of them except for the youngest brother still at home with their father. Imagine the surprise when Joseph finally revealed himself to them! Can you imagine their feelings? Shocked. Dismayed. (Genesis 45:3). I even think they had a little bit of doubt. Their minds went back to that dark time when they would even dream of doing something like they had done. To their own brother. Was this truly him?
But Joseph did not hold that past up before them, or berate them for their actions. No… And this is my thought. He had all the time in the world to concoct plans for getting even with his brothers! He had the power to be whatever he wanted to be and no one would think less of him had he reacted differently. But he had a better view on life. He could look back to those earlier years and see hate, or he could look back, and this could be an even deeper thought, he sees the hand of God allowing something to happen for the future good.
But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. (Genesis 45:5-8 NKJV)
Perhaps this was simply the style of Joseph. As we see him mishandled through the years, we never find him a hater, or a dweller on the past in any sort of negative way. What had happened to him back then produced the results of today! Though his brothers could not recognize this future Joseph, they did have him in their thoughts, always as a younger man. A boy. Favored by his father and a dreamer of dreams.
I have purposed to look at someone from their favored times and not see them as they presently are. Life is cruel to some, bringing a harsh visage upon their existence. But buried somewhere in their story is that youthful person with all the world before them. The possibilities are endless to become who they were meant to be! And we only need to see them from their youth till now… Age really makes no difference.