Jay painted a picture of me, as I spent some time writing at the airport. It clearly came out as a picture of a skinny, bald, middle-aged, middle-class man. It was an accurate depiction, if not alluring. Somehow, the painting of the writing — and the writing itself — helped me to see that aging has already become a significant theme of this week with my brother.
At this point in our lives, we get so few opportunities to stand ourselves up against a specific threshold we last traversed almost exactly seven years ago. At the time of our last experience in Scotland, I was processing the end of my ministry in Amsterdam. Jay was processing the end of his marriage with Heather. But a lot has changed in the last seven years. We’ve grown since then. We’ve stabilized. We’ve wizened. And, of course, we’ve aged.
I didn’t fully grasp the “Measuring Stick” dynamic of this trip until the journey started. But I appreciate it.
I happened to bring two books along for the trip which also seem to deal heavily with aging: Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward and Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.
The outbound journey has already hit some snags and delays. Nothing too serious — and we didn’t have a super-tight itinerary in Scotland anyway. At the moment, we’re sitting out a three-hour delayed-and-lengthened layover in Amsterdam. But I feel like the extended transition is heigtening the effect of the “Measuring Stick,” getting us ready for what God might reveal this week.
I’m a little bit anxious and also a little bit encouraged.