Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted. 2 Samuel 21:15 (NIV)
The man who has been my doctor for most of my life is retiring at the end of this year. He has been my family’s primary physician since about the time I was entering my teens. Doc was a young man fresh out of medical school. The first time I saw him was when a large sliver from my the wooden skateboard, which I had received for my birthday, lodged deep in my thigh and required both a minor surgical extrication and a lecture about being careful with my toys. Lately, he’s lecturing me about fiber, cholesterol, and prostate health.
One of the things I have always loved about Doc is his blunt and honest way of giving it to you straight. He doesn’t mince words, though he may add a little colorful verbiage. Once when were discussing a minor procedure I needed done he simply laughed and said. “Get ready. It’s gonna hurt like hell.” It did. A few years ago I wrenched my knee in a waterskiing accident at the lake. He stormed into the examining room after reading my chart. His first words were an exclamation spoken so loud the the people the waiting room had to have heard it: “WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?! WATERSKIING?! AT YOUR AGE?!“
Thanks, Doc. Nice to see you, too.
He was half-joking with me, but only half. The truth is, every season of the journey comes with its own threats and opportunities. I can’t do some of the things I could do physically even ten years ago. At the same time, experience and maturity afford me the opportunity to do some things better than I ever have before. C’est la vie. I might as well embrace reality because I can’t change it.
One of the things I appreciate about the story of David is that we get to follow his story from a young boy to an old man. Unlike many biblical stories in which a life span can be reduced to a sentence or two, we have two entire books and part of a third that are dedicated to his biography. We started with the young shepherd boy slaying Goliath with his sling. In today’s chapter, David discovers that he can’t wield the sword like he once could. His men, speaking like predecessors of my family doctor, gave King David their own “WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?!” lecture. He’d reached that age. It was time for him to hang up his sword and lead from the rear.
A few weeks ago I posted about the threat of early retirement. On the surface it may seem contradictory with today’s post about about not trying to overdo things once you reach a certain age. As with so many things in this life journey, truth is found at the point of tension between the two extremes. I’m discovering that wisdom lies in channeling my available resources in the most constructive, efficient and effective ways. Where I best channel them changes at different waypoints on the road of life.
A Note to Readers
I’m taking a blogging sabbatical and will be editing and re-publishing my chapter-a-day thoughts on David’s continued story in 2 Samuel while I’m taking a little time off to focus on a few other priorities. Thanks for reading.
Today’s post was originally published in May 2014.
If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.