26 somehow feels old. i know i know, it's not old at all. i try to tell this to my older sisters or my dad and they just laugh at me, just the same way my dad laughs at my sister for lamenting finding herself at 35. but lamenting is not what i'm doing. it's more just sort of realization coming from a question. what have i done in all these 26 years?
you see there comes a point when you are old enough to feel like you really should have done something, that you really should have accomplished something by now. you don't know exactly what that something is, but it would probably be really cool and a lot of people would know about it. like write a book. or climb a bunch of 14ers. or hold your first child. something like that.
i watched a kids movie the other day. i was tired and i put it on thinking i would fall asleep to the comfortable familiarity of a family movie. but i couldn't fall asleep. nope. i got sucked into the movie. i should have seen it coming really, because this movie is one that always gets to me. Hook is the movie about peter pan, after peter pan. really it is a movie about growing up. and for whatever reason it always makes me cry. several times throughout. not bawling panting heaving cry, but just some tears to my eyes. i think it was frederick buechner who told us to pay attention to our tears, because they usually mean that our heart is trying to tell us something.
Hook was the movie that made me realize i wanted to eventually get married. at the time i was questioning whether that was the right thing for my life. but like peter pan i think it was more rooted in not wanting to grow up than in noble pursuits. like him, i realized i want to be a daddy. i want to have a family and not miss it happening. but the selfish part of me really worries about that time when i will give most of my time and energy to my kids. what will be left for me then? what will i still get to do? and what will i no longer be able to do?
i think a lot of growing up is a constant learning how to be less selfish. though of course if this is the case we have a lot of peter pans out there.
i saw another "kids" movie recently--where the wild things are. i guess you may argue it's not a kids movie, but it is a coming of age story if i ever saw one. there are so many childish things in the movie--some beautiful, some disastrous. the one that keeps coming to my mind though is about the fort they build. it is amazing. it is so cool. but the reality quickly comes crashing down. when something unfamiliar and unplanned enters, it begins to break down. the old problems from before are still there, and the fort cannot protect them from all of that. at one point carol says "i thought this is the place where everything you want to happen happens."
maybe that's striking me because now i'm living in my own fort these days. we can all sleep together in a pile when it's fun and games, but then we realize some of the people smell. (of course speaking about the movie once again, not our community). or we don't like all the people there. or everything we want doesn't happen. we want to retreat but there is nowhere to go. if we try to build our own little secret compartment everyone will see us, and they will ask what we are doing, and why.
thankfully none of us are little children--or monsters! but are we really grown up either? no. and thankfully as well none of us are king. we can believe in the promises he gives us. but do we? do we hold onto those promises when things get tough. or did we even let ourselves hear them in the first place?
our fort is not a defensive place. no. our great paradox is that God is the refuge who sends us outside the city walls. he has us come out of the fort and not be safe. not get everything we want. not be comfortable.
we all build our own forts. and it doesn't matter how many people we let in them or how old we are--we all to some extent are still hiding under the cushions.
here's to growing up a little, hopefully a little more each day than we are a day older--that we might find wisdom beyond our years. that we would no longer be lost boys and girls.
come on, if peter pan can do it....