I recently took my daughter to a music lesson with her new saxophone teacher. We went downstairs into his music studio, and I sat down at a table to work while they continued on into the next room for the lesson. I fully intended to be productive for the next half hour.
It wasn’t so much the sound of horns and laughter coming from the next room that distracted me (I’m used to that!). It was the collection of newspaper clippings, inspirational messages, jokes and pictures of Snoopy that hung all around on the walls of the studio. Everywhere I looked, something interesting caught my eye. After I had read and enjoyed some of them, I got out my work and tried to focus. But one more message was propped up on the table, printed on a block of wood. It said: I’m going to make THE REST of my life THE BEST of my life.
Now some of you older folks will laugh at me or protest, but let me say it – I will soon be entering (if I haven’t already!) the second half of my life. And I don’t care if you’re pushing 40, 70 or 95 – at some point in your life, a little voice in your head begins to whisper the words: My best years are behind me.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with looking at the past with joy and nostalgia. There’s nothing wrong with recognizing the beauty of youth or yearning a bit for the days when we had more energy and a higher metabolism. But no matter how wistful we may be for the good things of the past, the future will always lay ahead of us as gift. The future is unknown, and with this comes great possibility – the possibility that the best may actually be yet to come.
But the best years won’t come by chance. As we get older, it is easy to just settle in and “be ourselves” and “do what we always do.” It is easy to maintain the status quo. But the life we really want to lead before our God and before each other requires so much more than that.
Our future lies ahead as a merging of God’s grace and our own free will, a melding of God’s plans and our own, a partnership between human and divine that can lead to amazing things. Maybe God wants us to accomplish something great. Maybe he wants us to give some profound service. Or maybe he just wants us to be totally devoted to someone who needs us.
You know the bumper sticker: God isn’t finished with me yet. Well, he isn’t. And that’s kind of exciting. The future lies ahead as gift. I’m going to make the rest of my life the best of my life.