HAVE you ever been told you were either too young or too old for something you wanted to do, and felt pretty much victimized by your age? If we think of age as the primary index of individual capacity, then the right age may often seem elusive -- either just ahead or just past. And we may tend to go along with the moods and shortcomings usually associated with our particular age-group, acting these out without even realizing it.
But there's another factor we should take account of, and that's the individual relationship each of us has to God, divine Mind. We can find through this relationship the strength and wisdom to do everything that is required of us at any stage of our experience. The need is to turn our thought from material statistics to the spiritual concept of man, to the Biblical truth of man as made in the image and likeness of God.
I became more aware of this need some years ago when we were living in a country where none of the local people had birth certificates. Then the first census ever to be held there was announced. The only way to assess the age of anyone was to ask him questions about what he remembered of past events and how he measured his own longevity against that of prominent public figures.
Suddenly the whole question of age seemed much more important to everyone. When the official assessments became known, I found it interesting that my private impression of the maturity of the people I knew was usually quite different from their actual age. This was because I thought of these people less in terms of their age and more in terms of their expression of God's qualities -- qualities such as wisdom and perceptiveness. I thought of each one in relation to his true selfhood, which is spiritual and immortal, the perfect reflection of the divine nature.
Yes, man seems to be a product of the flesh, limited at every point by factors beyond his control. But this isn't our genuine, God-created identity, and bit by bit we can gain dominion over this mistaken sense with its age limitations.
The Bible tells us that Christ Jesus was only twelve years old when he was found in the temple among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. ``And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.''1 At the other end of the scale we read that ``Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.''2 It's difficult to imagine Moses thinking of himself as ``good'' for his age. Didn't he instead recognize something of man's spiritual nature, which is permanent and undeclining? Everyone who begins to think of himself in this way can find increasing freedom from age-oriented limitations, not just so that he can do the things he wants to do but so that he can reflect God more unreservedly in everything he does.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes: ``Never record ages. Chronological data are no part of the vast forever. Time-tables of birth and death are so many conspiracies against manhood and womanhood. Except for the error of measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful, man would enjoy more than threescore years and ten and still maintain his vigor, freshness, and promise.''3
Spiritual vigor, freshness, and promise don't need to fade as the years go by but can develop instead. They are always available to make life fuller and to show how nonmaterial life really is.
1Luke 2:47. 2Deuteronomy 34:7 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 246.