While my wife celebrated a few days away with a girlfriend, I figured to pop a surprise on her Mother’s Day return with the installation of a new faucet for the master bathroom. Several complications soon arose. The old house had some funky modifications over the years, and one was the drain trap, a strange conglomeration of plastic and brass and mismatched parts. The threads got stripped, and it took four trips to Home Depot to finally get the correct set up. Eventually I had to replace the entire trap: cutting the outlet pipe, putting in an extension, gluing it into place. That two hour project took nearly an entire day. But the faucet does look nice.
The second complication also came from age. My own. I soon ran out of fingers and toes to count how often I got up or down or squirreled inside the tiny vanity recess to work on the plumbing. A day later, my body still feels the pain. 20 years ago I would have bounced up each time. Hey, maybe even 10! But several dozen Aleve didn’t relieve the pain that still lingers.
So, despite the claims of optimistic Baby Boomers that old age can be fun (yeah, my motorcycle has a license holder reading “Old Guys Rule,” so sue me for hypocrisy), age brings issues. Most negative. But one positive. A recent Facebook conversation with friends from 35 or so years back covered spiritual lessons over the years. Even though our opinions differed, we shared one trait: with age (read that as experience, maybe?) our perceptions of significant issues have changed.
For the three of us, we find fewer issues that seem mountainous. Experience has demonstrated that many passions of youth don’t carry importance; they’ve become molehills. Earlier, you had to share my view of charismatic gifts to gain my acclamation. Now, HAVE the Spirit. Earlier, you needed to be in my non-denominational denomination. Now, be in Christ’s church.
Simultaneously, some earlier molehills have grown into massifs like that shown above from Glacier National Park. Earlier, when single, avoiding genital sex gave a sense of spiritual success. Now, if I dip my eyes too much conviction strikes quickly. Earlier, you had to share my take on charismatic gifts. Now, just HAVE the Spirit. Earlier, people who said they loved Jesus gave me a sense of unity. Now, I look for a commitment to others and a transformed life.
Why? I’ve learned that too many absolute issues dilute my focus. I can’t manage them all. And, many seem to not make as great a difference as I’d once thought. Other issues carry much more impact, and I yearn to focus on the most significant.
By the way, if these thoughts have teased you enough, you can explore the concept more in Romans 14:1-15:13.
Kick Starting the Discussion
In your life, have you noticed a change of emphasis in spiritual issues? What are they? If so, what motivated the change? Do you have a standard to use on making changes like that? Do you think tweaking the importance of issues is a sign of spiritual growth or regression? Why?