The Age of Enlightenment was a time in history between 1700-1800. It was a time when the world was changing drastically. Some considered it a time of enlightenment and philosophy. In our own nation, big changes were occurring. Immigrants in search of a better life were setting up colonies on land that once was open space for the true Americans. Their settlements infringed on hunting lands and soon became a new civilization with forward thinking, brilliant minds, believing they would have a new start in this unsettled land.
I could get into a whole story about the fact that these lands were already populated and the immigrants were in fact taking land that didn’t belong to them, but I’ll spare you my feelings on that. Instead, I prefer to look at the enlightenment that comes from aging. I happen to know a lot about the subject since I’m well into my seventh decade. Enlightenment is often paired revolution and believe me when you age, most do so kicking and screaming all the way.
All the stuff about going through childhood, adolescence, middle age and retirement has been hashed and rehashed for centuries, but there is little talk about those final years – the years approaching death. For most people, it’s a subject we don’t like to talk about, yet it’s a necessary one. The truth of life is that it is going to end – for all of us. Whether you are just a child or well into retirement, you can count on that fact as much as you can believe there will be taxes to pay and pain to endure.
Each of us has a past. Even the very young, have memories of life in the womb. God has designed us before our conception and we have a purpose for entering this life and eventually leaving it. Death will come to all of us.
The longer I live, the more I question why I’m still here. I’ve seen little children die, before they’ve even had a chance to learn how to tie their shoes. I’ve seen older kids die unexpectedly. I’ve seen teens take their own lives in order to find eternal peace – but do they? I’ve seen those suffer with serious, life threatening diseases – those who are so much in the throes of depression that they don’t want to face life anymore – those so hopeless that life is simply unbearable. As age goes on, many decide they’ve seen enough and want out.
We all have different opinions about life and death. When does it begin and when does it end? For those who treasure life, they soon discover that we don’t have much to say about its sanctity. We have places for old people to go when they can’t take care of themselves anymore. There is special help available to make the final hours of life comfortable as the end approaches. Decisions regarding death over life are already being considered for those approaching old age..
So where does all this enlightenment come from and what does it have to do with what I’m trying to say today? It seems to me, that the more enlightened or knowledgeable we become – the more intelligence we gain – the more we learn, the less we know. We become so encased in knowledge that wisdom doesn’t have a chance to survive. When we place our focus on the here and now, we can be sure there won’t be a better place beyond that fatal day. We cannot control our own destiny, no matter how we try.
Remember that plan that God laid out for our lives? It is one of perfection. When sin entered the world He established a rescue mission for the whole human race – a plan that would insure perfection once more. His own flesh and blood would come to save the world and give them the paradise which had been lost. When we have faith in that truth, we are truly enlightened.