What if?

It’s that time of year. The air is heavy with festivals and Christian conferences – especially Christian ladies’ conferences. I have no problems with these events. I’ve enjoyed lots of them and even spoken at one or two. I have never attracted the level of excitement of a Joyce Meyer or a Beth Moore but no one ever asked for their money back or anything.

I find the names of these events a bit off-putting. I quite like “Cherish” but that’s mainly because there was a nice girl at my school called Cherish and now I always have the association. (There was also a girl at my Primary School called Denise who kept pinching my earlobe so I am always a bit wary round Denises now). There is one in Manchester called “Luminous” and one in Plymouth called “Stilettos”. It’s titles like this that make me think these events are not really for the likes of me. If it was called “Comfy Trainers”, I might pay a bit more attention. I suppose it’s mainly to attract the young people because that’s what we need. Young people to prove that we are relevant.

I love young people. In fact, I believe the children are our future. (Sorry, I am going through a bit of a George Benson phase at the moment). Young people are under horrendous pressure, mental health problems are rife and young people – who with the advent of Social Media are seen and heard more than ever before are more lost and lonely than ever before. Do I believe that God is the answer for them? Most certainly I do. I just sometimes worry that church can chase the young people like bright shiny baubles so that no one will think that your church is just made up of old codgers like me.

Also, the thing is – I’m not sure I’m finished yet and you might well not be either. Maybe, as the great Tony Bennett often sings, “The Best is Yet to Come.” I thought about that this week when I was reading in John about the Wedding in Cana when I read the bit above. We expect all the achievements to happen when we are young and luscious. We are full of energy and ambition, families and dependants are maybe not with us yet and sickness and loss are rarer.

I think that our achievements may be measured differently because I think we have been around long enough to have realised that the things we used to pursue like a kitten with a pom-pom were not all they were cracked up to be.

We can understand better the satisfaction of caring for a loved one, without the fear of missing out on being where the action is. We are freer of the rush to possess as we have found out long ago that satisfaction does not lie in owning seventeen handbags. We like to watch what we eat but not so that we can squeeze into a size zero because, in the end, we understand the value of a pineapple cake to the health of our souls. We have discovered that it is entirely possible to go to Aldi without make-up. And, perhaps most importantly, we understand the value of a little nap.

Possibly as well, this is the time to write that book, to lead that group, to mentor the learners, to make ourselves available for the lost and the lonely – even those who may not look that cool on the church Instagram feed, to find forgiveness in our hearts for those who nearly broke us and teach others how to do the same.

We may be slower, we may be more tired, our race may be more of a determined walk with plenty of stop-offs for a nice cup of tea but we are still in the race and there may be more to come than we have imagined.

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8 Comments

  1. June 24, 2019 / 9:14 am

    ‘Time for a little nap’……words one never expected to revel in. Aging means that one’s objectives change, without really meaning them to As I said in reply to Ang, ‘small momemts’ are very important at our age, and there is no time or place for regrets, not even for the 17 handbags!

    • lesleyps91
      Author
      June 24, 2019 / 8:44 pm

      And the small moments can be more intense don’t you think? I think we miss less.

  2. June 24, 2019 / 1:00 pm

    Perhaps the stilettos are knives . . .

    • lesleyps91
      Author
      June 24, 2019 / 8:45 pm

      Well that certainly puts a different spin on it *whistles theme to West Side Story*

  3. greta
    June 24, 2019 / 1:37 pm

    my husband is a retired pastor and, without fail, every time he would interview for a new church, the primary concern was always about the young people. we need a better youth group! how can we get the teens more involved? gotta get those young folks back! my husband would patiently explain that the best we could do would be to teach our children the basics and then let them run free for a bit. they’d almost always return once they began families of their own. it was the stalwart adults and our elders that we needed to keep our attention on. they provided the backbone of the church, carried all the weight and were the ones most in need of support and encouragement. guess we’re just not that glamorous, huh? no stilettos for me either : )

    • lesleyps91
      Author
      June 24, 2019 / 8:49 pm

      Can I just wave a huge flag and sing a song in support of everything you have just said – like Les Miserables or something. Young people – by their very nature – come and go – there’s nothing wrong with it. They are still learning. We put pressure they never asked for on them when we decide that they are the measure of a strong church.

      • June 25, 2019 / 8:10 am

        To what’s said here, may I add this. It has been a personal grief to me that two of my children were lost from church attendance by being too important in *what*, not *who*, they were. Young women, pretty, with long hair and a quietly elegant dress sense, the church clutched at them as poster girls, wanting to put them out at the front to perform song actions despite their protests they didn’t know the song, photograph them without their permission playing instruments in the band, sign them up to the coffee rota and running the crêche because they are female, and take on the responsibility of stewarding too soon and despite too many other commitments. The church valued them to the max. And they left. With a huge sense of relief. And have never gone back. It is also true that the church members who loved them to death could not tell them apart and never really knew them. They were trophy members. Emphasis on “were”.

        • lesleyps91
          Author
          June 26, 2019 / 9:27 pm

          I know this too well. I have children the same. Wrong kind of trophies.

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