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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Five things I've learned in 42 years

Being "middle aged" at forty-two would mean I'll live to be eighty-four. Statistically, that's unlikely, though if genes mean anything, my German-American heritage may take me into my nineties.

"Over the hill" or not, maybe today is the time to write down a few of the things I've learned in forty-two years on God's green earth:

1. New and improved isn't necessarily. Remember "new Coke"? That stuff was terrible. I'm glad that "classic Coke" came back.

2. Beauty and character rarely keep company. Our culture worships the beautiful face, the perfect physique. What is it about that kind of adulation that makes jerks of the individuals who receive it? Some of the kindest people I know are the plainest.

3. The best head of lettuce is underneath. The produce department always rotates the fresh stuff to the bottom, so people will buy what's been on display for the longest, and therefore closest to spoiling. This goes for iceberg lettuce, but also for summer fruit. If it's still cold, it probably just came out of the cooler. Keep digging!

4. God is the same, but we experience Him differently. Some will claim to have been "saved" in an encounter with Jesus. Others can trace no such experience, but nonetheless profess loyalty to Christ. A person might have been brought up in a Christian tradition that uses different vocabulary than yours. Keep your cookie cutters in the kitchen; God works differently in different persons.

5. Find what you're good at, and go for it. Parents, let your kids try lots of different things when they're growing up. That's how they'll discover something they're good at. When they do, positive self-esteem is just around the corner. And by the way, what you like and are good at isn't necessarily the same for them. You play trumpet; they might want to play the drums.


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