Saturday, May 12, 2007

The best days of my life were almost behind me

Got off the train yesterday afternoon and rode my bike down Oak Grove. Approaching the intersection with Middlefield, I saw that the light had just turned green. I don't know why I was in such a hurry -- maybe I was in my "car" mentality (you know, just press the gas pedal a little and you can probably make it...) -- but I looked behind me and saw that there was plenty of room for me to move into the left-turn lane.

By the time I got to the intersection, I was maybe 25 yards behind the last car that had gone through the intersection, so I knew the light was about to turn red. Why I didn't notice the oncoming car I have no idea.

We both approached the intersection and I almost did it -- almost put myself in the path of that car. Its driver jammed on the brakes at just about the time I swerved back into my lane. I think she was hurrying to make the light, too.

We passed without further incident -- I turned left behind that car -- and I felt like an idiot.

Haste makes waste -- could have made a lot of waste. I could have been injured or worse, traffic would have been tied up there for hours, Sheri would have called and not found me home and ... I thanked God for waking me up in time to avoid a personal disaster.

I have a book about home wiring that has this helpful reminder:

Think! Stay alive!

That's something I need to remember, especially on a bicycle.

On a not completely unrelated topic, I sometimes find myself thinking about things enjoyed in the past.
Some old cynics say that youth is wasted on the young. I don't quite agree, because as an "old guy" (yeah right) I wouldn't use the blessings of youth any more intelligently than I did back then. In other words, any fountain of youth would be squandered just as well by the old as by the young.
I think of watching my children grow up, how they needed me to help them, teach them things, cook for them. To be brutally honest, their needs made me feel important and worthwhile, and as they grow up and need me less and less, I tend to feel less significant, less worthy of the air I breathe.

Two things occurred to me as I mused on this last night, and one more as I wrote this.
  • Who provided the joy and blessing that came through my children? Children are a blessing from... from the Lord (Psalm 127), right? How likely is it that the Lord will stop giving? -!- (that was the sound of my hand hitting my forehead)
  • Even if the days ahead are less enjoyable than the days past (which is by no means a certain truth), what is life about? Is life really about What Makes Me Feel Good? That is a childish way of thinking; it is, to steal a line from Out of the Silent Planet, "cubs' talk."
  • And the thing that occurred to me as I wrote the previous paragraph was: idolatry. If the thing that makes me feel worthy is that my kids need me, then they constitute an idol in my life. Gaaaa! There's another slap-the-forehead moment.
Well, thank God that he accepts me in my folly and forgetfulness. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

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