Been thinking much about resilience (the ability to rebound, spring back, recover) these days.
Remember, I am an old man planting a church (imagine/Northampton). As some of you know, I have taken fondly to referring to myself as a geezer, a slang term for someone who is not only ambling toward decrepitude, but also is a bit of an odd character. I have noticed some oddness (although not full-bore eccentricity just yet), and I like it, actually. Also, I think the term is used most aptly of men. I think 60 is the threshold to the Land the Geezerdom. I know I passed through the gates a few miles back.
Anyway . . .
I find my "geezerliness," especially in the light of the 60 (almost 61 in April), years I have accumulated, plays a frequent role in launching imagine. As I face the relentless and sometimes bewildering challenges of developing this mission in Northampton, I experience the troubling presence of weakness, and inability:
1. I am physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually tired more quickly; they lingers longer than when I was a young, even middle-aged man. Recovering takes more time (and humbling patience, grrrr).
2. My ADD seems more prevalent in that it is both harder to not wander in distraction and stay focused on stuff needing disciplined effort. A baffling fog can settle in from encountering too many options and choices. Rebounding firmly into order is less easy to do.
3. Because there are so many details to put in place and stay on top of most of the time, I struggle more with keeping them organized from day to day. Springing back from chaos becomes just harder to do.
4. As I have rewritten previously, the spiritual warfare here is unrelenting. Coming in forms of resistance, obstruction (like swimming in peanut butter), and the constant invitation to discouragement, it can grind down a geezer. Rebounding from persisting adversity is not always simple at any age, much less at 60.
5. Just coming to terms with the reality and vicissitudes of aging itself, never mind launching a church in the process, can be daunting because mortality has a greater presence.
In the face of all this,however, I realize resilience is both an act of the will, and a gift of grace, igniting and sustaining resilience. I have to choose the way of resilience every day, but choosing only becomes efficacious as God grants the ability as well. Grace makes a way and points to the means.
Still, I will have to be resilient in the face of my diminishment speeding up inexorably over the days. I run smack dab into the human condition and must work within its bounds. No getting around it. Truth be told, God makes me able beyond my ability to do this . . . if I surrender and pay attention to the whisperings of his help. I live every day in the reality that I am an old man planting a church, but in this last 220 my life's journey. God has summoned me to do this now in my sixth decade.
So I am a geezer learning a different quality of resilience. I need more of God's help in it, because I am diminishing more noticeably than in my young years. Bouncing back has become more of a spiritual enterprise. Sure, I need physical rest for mind and body, Sabbath, and oases of quiet to take my hands off the work. But what I need more are spiritual oases of unhurried prayer, silent reflection, deep thinking and sitting in the Scripture. It is in those places that I am bouyed on wings of eagles.
I want to make that flight more often.