Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Look Both Ways," Denny's Latest LifeSharer Letter

That night I asked Granny, “What do old men think about when they look off and don’t talk?”

“What old men?” she asked shrewdly.

“Lots of old men,” I said.  “Lots of them just sit and look off at things, the mountains or the trees.”

Her reply – a riddle it seemed to me then – stayed on in my mind.  “They think of things that will not come again.”

The lines above represent a passage in Gene Fowler’s memoir, A Solo in Tom-Toms, published in 1946.  The book is a recounting of the famed journalist’s life as a boy and young man in Colorado and I’ve deeply enjoyed reading it – both for its history of the state I love and for its enlightened, sometimes inspirational, look at human life.  An arresting example of this last point is his grandmother’s observation of the pensive character of old men.

With my 62nd birthday coming up this summer, I certainly identify with the old men described here.  Indeed, Claire could testify that I have displayed this tendency towards mental reverie for many years already.  She will, for instance, catch me looking intently (but at no object in particular) and lovingly ask, “Where are you now?”

For she understands, as Fowler’s grandma did, that old men are often seeing things which are not really there in their line of sight…but which are very much “there” in their memories.  They are thinking of things that will not come again…

However, there is another direction in which my imagination is very active – even in these reveries that Claire so often notices.  And that direction isn’t towards the past at all.  It’s towards a most glorious future.  It is in this direction that I’m gazing more and more as both my body and soul yearn for the freedom, the victory and the reconciliation which Jesus Christ will be bringing when He returns…

Read the whole essay, "Look Both Ways," posted over at the Vital Signs Ministries website.