Friday Morning Reflections – The Shape I Am In

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Friday Morning Reflections – Wisdom Literature

Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them”: While the sun and the light, the moon and the stars, are not darkened, and the clouds do not return after the rain; in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men bow down; when the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look through the windows grow dim; when the doors are shut in the streets, and the sound of grinding is low; when one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of music are brought low. Also they are afraid of height, and of terrors in the way; when the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper is a burden, and desire fails. For man goes to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets. Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, Or the golden bowl is broken, Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, Or the wheel broken at the well. Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12:1-7)

The Shape I Am In

Author Diamond C. Aloes has a humorous tale of growing old in his poem “The Shape I Am In.” He writes,

There’s nothing the matter with me,

I’m just as healthy as can be,

I have arthritis in both knees,

And when I talk, I talk with a wheeze.

My pulse is weak, my blood is thin,

But I’m awfully well for the shape I’m in.

All my teeth have had to come out,

And my diet I hate to think about.

I’m overweight and I can’t get thin,

But I’m awfully well for the shape I’m in.

And arch supports I need for my feet…

Or I wouldn’t be able to go out in the street.

Sleep is denied me night after night,

But every morning I find I’m all right.

My memory’s failing, my head’s in a spin…

But I’m awfully well for the shape I’m in.

Old age is golden I’ve heard it said,

But sometimes I wonder, as I go to bed.

With my ears in a drawer, my teeth in a cup,

And my glasses on a shelf, until I get up.

And when sleep dims my eyes, I say to myself,

Is there anything else I should lay on the shelf?

The reason I know my Youth has been spent,

Is my get-up-and-go has got-up-and-went!

But really I don’t mind, when I think with a grin,

Of all the places my get-up has been.

I get up each morning and dust off my wits,

Pick up the paper and read the obits.

If my name is missing, I’m therefore not dead,

So I eat a good breakfast and jump back into bed.

The moral of this as the tale unfolds,

Is that for you and me, who are growing old….

It is better to say “I’m fine” with a grin,

Than to let people know the shape we are in.

Solomon explained it long ago when he described the aging process. His final advice for youth was to live full lives with the knowledge that there will be a day of reckoning. He writes of the affliction and sadness that accompanies growing older and how the arms and hands will grow weaker. The legs will bow down as they become frail. Teeth will be fewer and eyesight will grow dimmer as hearing is lost. Sleep will be less, the voice will be more haltered and the hair will turn white. Appetite will fail. Old age is not what it is cracked up to be.

The focus of Solomon’s admonition is to know that man goes to his “long home” (KJV) and death will come to all. There is a constant awareness of remembering the Creator because a day will come when death will be as a silver cord loosed, a golden bowl broken, and the pitcher shattered at the fountain or the wheel broken at the well. Death comes to all men. Then the judgment.

Youth waste their energy on the pursuits of life that will come to an abrupt change in old age. It is the natural process. No matter how much man tries to retain youth age changes everything. But one thing will not change – the eternal body. It will live on without end. Life can be filled with hardships but it will come to an end. What happens after death will never change. And that is the lesson for the living. Solomon will conclude his book with the simple truth that life is not about the here and now with all of its burdens. Life is about an eternal body that is found in God that will never suffer. This fleshly tent will be discarded one day including the pains of old age. Our new body will be something else. It will be amazing. There will be no more pain or sorrow. I cannot wait. Lord come quickly.

Live as though every day was your last – and someday you will be right. (Anonymous, c. 1960)

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