I arrived home from a good day of substituting at Coulterville High School. Joan shared with me some info she was studying for her health class about growing old. The gist of it was that you can grow old gracefully and enjoyably. There were some conditions which reminded me of my proverbs studies. One condition is no drinking; the other is a good marriage. Those two conditions are very important in aging gracefully according to her text book. Exercise was mentioned. She did some exercising and then I did.
I then picked up "The Glory in the Grey" by Archibald Alexander. What I read struck a chord in my heart:
Sometimes we claim God’s promises on the heights, and forget that they hold in the valleys.
Blindly and perversely do they squander and spoil the gift of God; yet is their case not hopeless if they but leave themselves penitently to His merciful repairing. God will make of them still vessels unto honour. Though innocence be gone, God’s grace can still make a saint.
I should like to speak of God’s great storehouse of reserve blessing to those who feel that they are growing old. To the man who fears that, with his youth, he has left behind him everything worth having, I want to say God has other gifts still. Youth does not exhaust our Father’s bounty. God has a gracious Second-best for those who are ageing wisely.
…to speak about God’s Second-best to those whose range of living has had to be narrowed, to those who, though not seriously ill, have had to surrender many of the liberties and privileges of health. Even so, my brother, life need not be wholly sad or bitter. Not a little of the world’s best work is done by its courageous invalids. God has His gifts of quiet happiness even for those who have had to take a smaller house.
But there is a failure that is final, that shuts the door and turns the seeker down some other way, to bear the stigma—unsuccessful…. Even for the failures, God has a Second-best. There are many who have found the blessing that lies beyond failure. Like the oyster, they have healed their hurt with a pearl.
As a matter of fact, “Second-best” is a purely human measurement; on God’s scale it is really “better still.”
There is a wonderful Second-best waiting for him in God’s keeping, if he gets up to try again.
“Though deep in mire, wring not your hands and weep;
God lends His arm to all who say ‘I can’.
No shamefaced outcast ever sank so deep
But he may rise, and be again a man.”
I am only hoping how you can see this connecting up. Joan and I then went out to post flyers for our upcoming "Meth" play in the small communities around Sparta. What an absolute joy. We went through Coulterville, Tilden and Marissa. Each store or restaurant treated us with respect even giving us the tape to use to post the flyers. We got a couple of comments from the clerks knowing some people that really need to be there. In Marrisa we stopped at “Main Street Coffee Bar” where we got our Starbucks quality coffee and got permission to post the flyer. The best part was that they had a group of about 15 musicians playing some good music. Joan and I sat down and watched these “old” people jamming away having a great time. We left about 9:30 refreshed to live life.