Twenty-Five Again

I just wrote a card and letter wishing a friend a happy 25th birthday. And as I think of him, and how he is off living this adventurous life in Alaska, it leaves me, at least in this moment, wishing that I could do my twenty-fifth year over again. Just a ridiculous little fantasy, but I sometimes indulge such thoughts for a bit. There are just a few ways that I wish I would have lived a little more fully at that season of my life…

Sometimes I go through seasons where some amount of regret is my companion. And maybe that’s where I am right now. Twenty-five. There is something about that age for me that from my current vantage point seems magical. I was single, young, strong, felt somewhat invincible. I could walk. I ran four miles a day most days. I had hair. I farmed with Dad, had a part-time painting business, worked a few nights at the local skating rink, and hung out with the high school youth group at my church. I drove to Omaha or to Michigan or Illinois or wherever to visit friends on a whim. Was kind of a confirmed single man at the time as well, in spite of all kinds of people claiming to have found me the perfect woman. Apparently there were a lot of perfect women running around during the early eighties…

IMG_8612So being twenty-five will have to remain reality for my friend in Alaska, and merely fantasy for me, which is really quite fine. My life is substantially rich as it is. And regret or no regret, I, like you, have only this moment in which to actually live.

In his book Iron John, Robert Bly talks of “handling ashes.” I’ve thought a lot about this concept over the last weeks and months, have gotten my hands dirty, and started to make more sense of where I am at this stage in life, more than double the age of twenty-five. Bly says that when we handle ashes, when we wrestle with our regrets, our losses, our mistakes, it helps to clarify what about us remains alive, and what is no longer alive or possible. And like this photo shows, when the ashes of something burned, something dead or lost or stolen are ground into our hands, they make the whorls and ridges of our living fingerprints more pronounced. More apparent. The ash is evidence of things that once held life or potential for us, but are no longer alive. Perhaps no longer even potential. But the life in our fingerprints, the life in who we are rises above the ashes. That is part of our present potential…





~ by fourfeetsixinches on November 16, 2014.

5 Responses to “Twenty-Five Again”

  1. Thanks, Scott, for your thoughts. I relate it to my devotions this morning on how God invites me to live my life in collaboration with Him. Gives me great hope for a fulfilling and joyful present and future potential in Him.
    Merry Christmas!

  2. I often wish for that, too. Even though somehow life gets by us, I will dwell on the ashes on the hands comparison. Good food for thought. Thanks.

  3. As you well know, I can relate. Philippians 3:13, I know, I know. Thanks, Don

  4. Scott, I have been wheelchair bound for about 15 years now [for a year or so it was 24/7.] Although I am not paralyzed, I do have knee contractures. My shoulders and wrists are gone due to Rheumatoid Arthritis as well. In the beginning I could transfer independently but now it’s hoyer lift only and I need assistance rolling. I too have been sifting through the ashes lately, saying goodbye to what was but never will be again…there is a lot of sadness …but, gratitude as well…and fond memories: spur-of-the-moment road trips, driving, going into a friend or family’s home for dinner or to play cards, travel, or simply rolling over in bed. I too have my good days and bad. I can still get to my beloved outdoors–my sanity, my joy, my hope. It’s one day at a time, sometimes one minute at a time, but I keep rising above the ashes… Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights.

  5. I’m glad I got to be one of those friends you visited! You have always had an “old soul”: deep, thoughtful, looking for meaning in every moment. Larry & I are reading “Falling Upward” by Richard Rohr. You would appreciate his thoughts, too. Blessings my friend.

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