For Ever Young

Yesterday I was out and about and passed an old man walking the other way. As is our northern custom, we exchanged greeting.

“Morning”, said I.

“Morning, lad”, he replied.

I laughed. I had not been called a lad for some years. Although I will soon enter my forty-third summer, I was wearing a hoodie under my denim jacket, which may have suggested a youthful age. On the other hand, I might have been entering my sixtieth summer, but for him, I was still a mere lad. He sported a pair of bushy sideburns, a brown jacket and a flat cap, all sartorial relics from the 1970s (or, quite possibly, the 1870s).

This week, both he and I will enter another year, should we survive the next few days. Yet age is only a measure of our time on the earth. Upon entering eternity, the elderly cease to be old and the infant stops being young. We enter that state of timelessness, wherein neither old men nor lads rightly dwell. The Catholic writer, G.K. Chesterton, wrote in Orthodoxy:

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

Despite his Romish tastes, I have always liked Chesterton’s turns of phrase. Though our bodies age and grown tired, and even our minds may become wearied by the prospect of yet another year of the glorious 2020s about to unfold, our spirits remain as youthful and vibrant as ever. We whose lives are hid with Christ on high remain forever young, forever timeless, forever eternal.

Image by Aamir Mohd Khan from Pixabay