WOULDN'T you agree that there really is no perfect age? Age itself has no ability to be perfect. What will prove to be helpful in the long run is a better sense of our inherent spiritual vigor and vitality -- of our agelessness as God's children. On the surface this may sound a bit mystical, but it isn't. It's just that our true identity can be found only in that which does not change. The physical senses testify to that which constantly changes, so we can't rely on them to tell us who we really are. Since God is Spirit, according to the Bible, and man is His image, our genuine selfhood must be spiritual. And what is spiritual cannot age or change; it is permanent.
A few years ago I met a dedicated Christian Scientist who shared some insights with me. I was impressed by the deep Christianity and wisdom she expressed. After a while the conversation turned to the many changes that had taken place over the years in the town in which we lived. She told me how the town looked in the 1890s and then laughingly said, ``But I guess you weren't here then.'' I thought, ``You were?'' It wasn't that I couldn't have seen wrinkles on her face had I been inclined to scrutinize. But there was just no sense of age about her. She radiated a maturity and childlikeness, a beauty and strength, that I soon learned were by-products of years of learning and applying specific truths of God and man. Talking with her showed me the futility of searching for a fountain of material youth or, on the other hand, for some sure-fire aging process. That small experience taught me that what we need isn't more age or less age but no age. In popular thought, age is inextricably linked with experience. So it may be tempting for a young person to welcome getting older, to think that when he's older his ideas may finally be accepted as valid. But the man of God's creating isn't really a limited mortal, dependent on age for wisdom or for anything else. St. Paul pointed to the fact of man's eternal spiritual individuality when he said, ``This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.''1
Our genuine, spiritual selfhood, God's image and likeness, doesn't go through material phases. Our real being expresses goodness alone, since it is the outcome of God, good; it cannot include anything opposed to the divine nature. There is, then, no spiritual basis for believing that pain or illness or loss of any worthwhile ability is normal for anyone at any age. Time cannot hinder the practical effect of these truths when they are understood and lived. One is never too old or too young to experience the moral and physical regeneration of the healing Christ, the divine influence blessing humanity.
A sense of spiritual renewal, cultivated through prayer and Christly living, is essential to expressing agelessness to a greater degree. One probably wouldn't volunteer to live in a house that had been built with structural mistakes many years ago and had never been renovated. We should be even less content to live with a worn-out framework of concepts about life. Seeking and practically applying the truths of God and the man of His creating bring a feeling of joy and renewal to our lives. We may not prove all there is to prove at once, but gaining an understanding of God and His ageless reflection, man, will help us break through, even if in modest degree, some of the limits associated with age.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes:``The measurement of life by solar years robs youth and gives ugliness to age. The radiant sun of virtue and truth coexists with being. Manhood is its eternal noon, undimmed by a declining sun.'' And she says: ``Life is eternal. We should findthis out, and begin the demonstration thereof.''2
Nothing worthwhile is given up by cultivating the pure spirituality that enables us to let go of thoughts of age. Just as timeless appeal is a criterion of quality music and art, so should it become natural to our daily lives, whatever our age.
1I Corinthians 15:53. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 246.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. I John 5:11