Monday, April 30, 2013
Today is the last Monday of my middle age. I turn 60 next Sunday and will be officially an old person.
Now, from the outside, that may seem to be a bad thing. Eww. Old. Can't do stuff. Rickety. But the outside view is wrong, wrong, wrong.
(WARNING: VAST OVERSIMPLIFICATION AHEAD!) I chose to take all of the behaviorist classes I could while I was in school. What makes behaviorism different from humanist, or existential, developmental, gestalt, and the other million ways of understanding the human condition is that it focuses strictly on behavior. It's not true that behaviorists deny that there is a soul, or a mind; it's just that the behaviorist says "It's not your mind that gets you into trouble. It's your behavior." The Hollywood stereotype of the psychoanalysist has the patient lying on a couch, talking about dreams, what were the first things he remembered, etc.The behaviorist says: What problem behavior do you want to change, or what desirable behavior do you want to learn or enhance?
And, from the behaviorist view, all behavior is purposeful. We have a reason to act the way we do. You can't always tell the purpose of the behavior until you see the results, and sometimes those results are long - term. From this perspective, the reason I am sitting in this chair, right now, typing on this blog, is a result of my behavior throughout my previous life. Everything I have done so far has been to bring me to this point. Even if I didn't know I was going to this point, this is where my behaviors brought me. Now, they back off of the ultimate conclusion, which makes Christians snicker; because they say that the ultimate conclusion is that our behaviors in life lead us to death, which is of course preposterous; to which Christians say NO IT ISN'T ! IT'S THE ENTIRE POINT! WE LIVE OUR LIVES IN SUCH A WAY AS TO BRING US CLOSER TO GOD!
But I'm not dead yet.
And, based on the ages of my parents and grandparents on both sides, I'm gonna make it to my 80's with no problem. So I've got at least 20 years to be a competent (intellectually, at least) old person.
Now, let me tie this together: For my entire life, I've been preparing to be an old person. The character I have been forming is going to flower as an old person. The body I have has become that of an old person, if we look at the rickety crickety painful parts, for the past several years, so getting an old body is something I'm already good at. I'm prepared for retirement, since I had to take early disability retirement some five plus years ago. And old people don't have to do nothing they don't want to do, and I've been working on that for the past several years.
Now, the LAW, which presents us with the "I should, but I can't" dilemma, is no longer a problem for me. See, all my behavior up to this point has been designed to bring me to the place where what I WANT to do is to manifest the LAW in my life. And, of course, I'm not talking about the ceremonial law. I'm talking about "love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself." I can remember like it was today that awful tension of wanting to get high, but dreading it, and the cycling back and forth until I either gave into it right then, or postponed it and gave into it later. That was really, really awful. And I could repeat the same description about any number of ways to mess up. But: I'm old (or will be in a week), and I don't have the hormones and the stupidity racing through my blood system any more. I'm geared up now to be an old person; an old person who really enjoys being who God has called him to be. I don't have to cut my hair, I can wear blue jeans to church, and I can ask for reproof and receive it and learn from it and grow and prosper, because I am living in the land of promise.
So, har-de-har-har, young men. You've got strength; I've got gray hair. GLORY!
Locusts and wild honey,