I don’t know about you, but at times it’s hard to keep life all together. It’s not just a matter of getting older. It’s a matter of life piling up. Truthfully, life is always hectic and always on the edge of getting jumbled. When you get a little older, it’s hard to keep everything sorted out and in place.
Not long ago I was eating supper with an old friend of mine who is several years older than I am. As we left the restaurant he saw an old, old friend of his. They were glad to see each other. My friend walked over and said, “Man, how are you doing?” His friend responded, “I’m doing great. How’s your knee doing?” The old fellow looked at him and said, “It’s not my knee but my shoulder that was hurting.” His friend said, “Oh, well, how’s it doing, then?” I took the opportunity to tell him that he needed to keep everything in order and keep life straightened out.
Seriously, every age and stage in life is that way. There are young kids in school trying to learn to have everything ready when a report or a project is due. If they go off to college it gets even more intense as the stakes are raised and the deadlines are more dreaded. Then they are out of school and possibly into marriage and one or two or three kids come along. It is not easy to keep it all together. When the kids are grown and off on their adventures, the problems of keeping life all together are still with us.
So what do you do when life gets all unraveled and you can’t keep it all together? Well, at whatever point in life you may be, just kind of relax and smile and enjoy the moment, like the two old guys who didn’t know if it was his knee or his shoulder with which he had physical problem. They just laughed and went on. I recognize that sometimes it gets more serious than just not remembering which body part isn’t working.
A friend of mine was telling about his mother who is living in an assisted living area and she was telling her son about one of the conversations that took place at the table when they were eating lunch. The lady across the table looked at a lady who was sitting beside her and said, “Bonnie, I can’t remember. Was it you or your sister who died?” The lady to whom she was speaking, sharp as a tack, didn’t want to miss the humor of the moment so she said, “It was me.” The other lady replied, “Well, I couldn’t remember which one of y’all it was.” Sometimes life is just a little bit on the humorous side, even when it comes to departing here. It would be helpful, though, if all along life’s journey most of us would lighten up even about the heavy things of life.
The second thing that would be helpful is just to relax and remember that most of life’s disconnections and uncertainties are not end-of-the-world experiences. Have you seen folks that everything, regardless whether it’s at church or work or home, turns into a dramatic, “There’s no more hope,” kind of moment? Do not allow some little mishap or misunderstanding or misconnection to ruin the big joys that may be just ahead of you.
Finally, the ultimate help to smooth out the roads of life even when they twist and turn is to do what Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Trust God. Trust God when you get off course. Trust Him when you are not sure of the direction you are going. Trust Him when it appears to everyone else that you’re going the wrong way. Trust Him to lead you and — equally important — trust Him when you get off course, knowing that He can get you back on course.
It was a rainy night and I was trying to get on to a speaking engagement. I was trying to see through all the rain and darkness to try to locate the place where I was going to speak. I could not find the place I was supposed to be. Up and down the road I had gone, when I finally saw a man walking in the rain down the side of the road. No one else was available, so I pulled up beside him and said, “Excuse me. Could you tell me where I can find this place?” In the pouring down rain he looked through my window and said, “Mister, you’re on the right road, but you’re going the wrong way.” He told me exactly where my destination was and I turned around and found it with no problem. We all come to moments like that in life when we may feel like we’re on the right road, but we’re going the wrong way and there are others who help us, but we ultimately know that God will help us and get us where we need to be.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.