Wait — didn’t I just turn 7? At least my 17th anniversary isn’t that long ago, is it? Well, actually I just turned 27 a few days ago!
I went running this other day, and happened to pass by the school I went to when I first started primary school. It is out in the countryside, so I am not there very often. I looked for my own mirror image in the large windows to do a check up on my running technique. As I passed by I saw a 27 year old man who looked like he was running in the hallway on the inside of the building. My imagination got feet on its own, and I soon realized that 20 years ago I would do precisely that. Run to classes inside those buildings. I mean; wasn’t that yesterday? No — it’s actually 20 years ago! An attentive, and from time to time rather anxious child once stood behind that window. A big backpack on his back and a hand safely put in mum’s. I so vividly saw him there on the inside, as he was walking in to attend his first class ever. All the questions swirling in his head. Was it safe in there? What was he to expect? Why did the room have to smell so strongly of..unknown? Why did that teacher chew gum all the time? Would he make it through the tests? Would he make it to learn all he was supposed to? Would they be allowed to play? Excited, reluctant and anticipating he went into the room. He had no idea what he would be like when he came out 20 years of shaping later. Standing there on the outside watching myself go into the room, I realized that the building hadn’t changed at all. Such a perspective. Though the building was the same, the world I saw around me when standing in it, looked so different back then, compared to now. Had I only known what the world is like from here … . Well — actually I am glad I didn’t. A quite transfigured person stood on the outside now. Not only taller. Stronger. Wiser. Older. More guilty. Closer to death. More aware and more experienced. Yet; just as weak, as untaught , as inexperienced and as fragile, lacking and insufficient as the child on the inside: times a hundred. That hundredfold is the cost of awareness and maturity in a fallen world. Indeed; the man on the outside was in the same need of a hand reaching deep down from heaven to guide an otherwise lost child through life — into whatever class is next on the list.
As a child I would reason with myself and understand that at some point I would grow up and become an adult. I didn’t appreciate the thought much — unfortunate as it was to know that I once would have to sit down at the table, tending boring conversations instead of playing with LEGO. But it had to be so. After all that’s how the world works. I dreadfully hoped that at least somebody would teach me how to fill in those white and yellow bills before that time, because they looked so scary and complex with all those numbers on them! But even as I realized that adulthood was my ultimate destiny, and not an offer to be turned down, I also felt like it was a whole eternity until I was actually going to get there. After all, according to my experience, one year in itself took half an eternity, so ten years was quite incomprehensible!
Yet here I am; an adult, more or less. Perhaps a bit wiser. Perhaps a bit less childish and with some maturing aspects about myself. But I still find the same childish tendency in myself. I know for certain that my final destiny from nature’s side — if God grant it so — are the gray hairs and a withering body. I might just have rounded the top of the hill now in my twenties, and downhill is more and more a fact. Though it looks like a distant future, I am soon going to turn 72 instead of 27. We all know age coming, but we don’t really grasp it, do we? Not until the day is there, and we look back and amaze at the swiftness of passing time.
As I screw up my eyes and scout down into the future, I wonder how the past looks from out there. Will I look back in regret and contempt? Will I look back at past youth, grumbling over my aging body and vanishing neural activity? I hope not. I hope that I will rather look at the present as past from a wiser and brighter future, knowing that I shall once look at it from eternity. My brain might not any more be as capable as it was when I was a child. I may not be as innocent as I was when I was an infant. It doesn’t matter. For I am one step closer to eternity with and in God. Shall I take another step or two upwards as I go down? For downhill is certainly coming.
We all chose whether we will have to look up to, or down at the past. If an old body, a vanishing memory and an altogether dying biological machinery is granted me to inhabit, then down it shall be. For I am yet to climb higher.