Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Day 6: Entropy
"In all truth I tell you. When you were young you put on your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands and somebody else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go."
The world says, "When you were young, you were dependent and could not go where you wanted, but when you grow old, you will be able to make your own decisions, go your own way, and control your own destiny." But Jesus has a different version of maturity: it is the ability and willingness to be led where you would rather not go."
-Henri Nouwen, "Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life
The older I get, the more entropy I see in my life.
I'm tired more easily. Sometimes I think my cerebral palsy has made my body weary faster than other people my age. Even a year ago I could lift weights and take a walk in one day and be fine. Now I do yoga for ten to twenty minute spurts sporadically throughout the week so I can keep up with my kids until their bedtime. I have grays and the start of wrinkles on my forehead.
Our house is in on the action too. Just this last week my oven stopped working again, our front door came off its hinges and my Keurig won't brew coffee (thank God for French presses, which make better coffee anyway!)
So much in our culture would call me to resist this erosion. I should work out every day so I look and feel younger. I need to buy a night moisturizer to diminish those wrinkles because the regular one I use isn't cutting it. I should dye my hair (Hubs wants me to become his "silver fox" and I'm ok with that!)
This is supposed to be the prime of my life, my "best years." In some ways they are. I am more gentle with myself and like myself more than I ever did in my late teens and early twenties. I have everything I ever wanted: A family and the chance to stay at home with my small children.
Yet some days I wonder, "Is this all there is? What if I am missing something?"
Nouwen's thoughts on spiritual maturity have made me see these nagging feelings in a different light. When I am tempted to chase after the fleeting youth that the world prizes so much, Jesus and Nouwen point us to a different definition of success and maturity: the ability to be present in the unpleasant situations of life. Nouwen even goes so far as to preach obedience to commands and places we'd rather not go.
It sounds radical, but I think if we're really honest with ourselves, life has a way of taking you to these places we'd "rather not go" more often than we care to admit. What if, instead of grasping for control and being bitter when life doesn't go as planned, we trust Jesus and how He is leading us? Could that be our road to maturity? Is the entropy of unforeseen circumstances meant to be fought?
In all things, we can trust Jesus. After all, He has promised to work everything out for our good. I'd say that's a pretty good reason for us to let go of some of those youthful ideals we hold so tightly to if Jesus is leading us on a different path.
Here's to entropy for our maturity. And to using the back door to the house in the near future.