At times, looking into the future at what might lie ahead can be a bit daunting or discouraging, especially if it involves an uncertainty of what you will do or curtailing or abandoning some activities that you have always enjoyed doing.
I have talked to many who have had life-altering changes . . . whether retirement, death of a loved one for whom they were the main care taker, loss of a job, loss of health . . . and with each is that immediate loss of purpose, which is tough.
But a recent encounter with a childhood birthday gift gave me a new perspective on handling the future.
Growing up, my family, like many, had a very limited income. I remember going grocery shopping with my mother. She always had an envelop of money labeled groceries, a list, and four stores she would frequent each week in order. She would buy only what was on the list, and mostly what was on sale. She budgeted down to the penny, and when one store overcharged her a penny, she called them out on it. (Pennies in the sixties had quite a bit of worth.)
Because of these financial restrictions, my parents set boundaries on our gift expectations. We could expect certain gifts at certain times. For instance, our first watch came at our eight grade graduation. Our first typewriter (yes, we used those) at high school graduation. Our first NEW bike, and only new bike, came when we were nine.
I have managed to hang on to that bike, only because my sister has kept it for the past thirty years and just recently asked if I wanted it back because she couldn’t get a tire/tube for a 1965 Schwinn that would hold air.
I took it, mainly for sentimental reasons, and thought about trying to find that elusive tire/tube combination that would work, but finally realized that even if I did, the chance of ever riding that bike again was miniscule. I have since moved on to one that has enough granny gears to get me up Everest.
So what to do? Was the bike obsolete?
No. It wasn’t. It still held memories for me. It still had meaning. It still had value. It still had purpose.
It no longer traverses streets or powers up hills or takes me on adventures, but, as you can see, it now sits in my front yard, holding flowers and providing a point of beauty for me and for those around me. And there is still more potential in what this old bike can provide. (Maybe a small basket on the back? A garland of flowers through the spokes?)
What I have learned is that if we embrace the changes, we will be pleasantly surprised
by what God can produce through us. And trust me, though we may not have the same purpose we had before, He will always create a new thing of beauty.