There’s something about Peter Pan that always rings true for me. I never wanted to grow up. It’s not that I’m irresponsible. In fact, I’d consider myself quite responsible. Yet the idea of remaining childlike has always appealed to me. When we’re children, all we want to do is become adults. I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that when we grow old, we wish we were young again. Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to be accountable? If, like Peter Pan, we had our own place – our own followers – our games to play and time to frolic? Wouldn’t it be amazing to make our own rules and carve our own path? Sometimes it seems like that’s what may be happening to the youth of today, but that just an old grandmother talking.
As we grow up, we’re taught to put away childish behavior, to forget about nonsensical things, to live by the certain standards, but maybe those standards have been tainted from one generation to the next. Growing old is not for sissies, but it can be filled with joy and laughter if we let it. We don’t have to isolate. We don’t have to hide from others. We don’t have to grumble and complain about every ache and pain. We definitely don’t need to impose our feelings on the younger generation when that’s what we’re longing to be.
We must remember how to play – how to get enjoyment from the little things – how to feed on the beauty of God’s creation. Yesterday, a small bird landed on my husband’s shoulder. That was amazing. I thought he had become an animated cartoon. We need to take time to stretch our imaginations again. Children have the great ability to picture things in their minds and make up stories to accompany them. Kids love to explore and learn. Somewhere along the line we lose the ability to be children. We become bitter because of something that has distressed us. We lose our ability to look ahead when our final years approach.
Yet there is still so much to be hopeful for. We have a home waiting for us in eternity, where we will never grow old, feel pain, discouragement or anger. That place is not Neverland, but heaven. While we’re going through these remaining days, let’s never forget how to be young.
C.S. Lewis, who wrote the Chronicles of Narnia, had this to say about aging:
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
“You see, I don’t think age matters so much as people think. Parts of me are still 12 and I think other parts were already 50 when I was 12….”
“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”