Age certainly takes its toll on various kinds of activities. Even at seventy-one, I feel more limited than I did at seventy. I can’t walk as fast as I used to, and my wife says I sometimes lean when I’m walking. Not a good thing, although the doctor didn’t offer an opinion about it; I assume he considers it par for the course of an aging individual.
Ever since my bout with acute viral encephalitis in the eighth grade–my survival wasn’t guaranteed, and I could’ve ended up a human vegetable–I haven’t been very energetic. If you question that, just keep in mind that co-workers at a summer job years ago called me Flash because of the speed at which I didn’t work.
When I was a kid–even a young adult–I prayed for God not to call me to be a pastor or a missionary. He honored that prayer, quite possibly because He knew I already had physical limitations that would’ve affected my ability to work in anything as stressful as full-time Christian ministry.
That doesn’t mean I wasn’t interested in missions, however. Especially overseas. That’s why getting a job at the International Mission Board (it was still called the Foreign Mission Board then) after going back to school for some computer training was so important to me. I wouldn’t be working in the field, but I would be supporting the people who did.
In 1991, when I was forty-five, I had the opportunity to go on a short-term volunteer mission trip to Australia, a place I–like many Americans–had always wanted to go. On being assured I didn’t need theological training to be qualified, I went. I loved the country, I loved the people, and I fell in love with that type of short-term mission trips.
Not surprisingly, the ensuing years saw me return to Australia a number of times, Romania twice, and Wales, England, and Nicaragua once each.
The Nicaragua trip was doubly important. Not only was I there to help in whatever way I could, I was also doing research for the third book in my Altered Hearts series, Overshadowed.
I was by far the oldest person on our team, and the other five people were very thoughtful in trying to meet my needs. Nonetheless, I came to realize that I probably wasn’t holding up my corner of the blanket, so-to-speak, and I felt at times that I might have been more of a hindrance than a help, even though no one would ever have said so.
I would love to go back to Nicaragua…or Australia…or wherever else God might permit me to go. But at this stage of my life, going on another mission trip seems very impractical, and that’s frustrating. I hate feeling that physically limited.
Some years ago I wrote a song called “My Comfort Zone.” The lyrics say in part, “Why should I go when I can send?” and “Why should I preach when I can pray?”
Thankfully, the realization that I can still pray and help to send those who’re able to go gives me a great deal of peace.
Do you have problems that affect your ability to do some of the things you used to enjoy doing? How about leaving a comment.
I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.
Links you might be interested in:
- Roger’s other blog, As I Come Singing
- Roger’s website, RogerBruner.com
- Roger’s free Christian lead sheets
- Roger’s books on Amazon