Lately it’s been difficult to write. I’ve been reading and thinking about a lot of things that I intend to share, though not until I’ve processed them more. As a sort of tease, however, it’s good stuff. Initially it was disturbing, but it’s begun to shape how I view God and the world and those around me—in a good way. Today’s post may touch on what I’ve just cryptically mentioned.

I was at a mall recently. I don’t usually like going to malls, unless they have bookstores. Aside from books and cell phone kiosks, most malls merely comprise boutique after endless boutique of whatever kind of fig leaves you could possibly want. One store I noticed in particular was Forever 21.

21? Hmm. Would I want to be 21 again? Is that when I’d like for time to have stopped?

21 is when I got married. 21 is when my firstborn was … well, born.

21 was before I began my first career job. 21 was before I bought a house. 21 was before we moved from Arizona.

(By the way, this 21 thing is getting to the grammarian in me. Technically, you’re not supposed to begin a sentence with a number, unless you write it out—twenty-one—but that seems too formal for a blog.)

I didn’t know much when I was 21. I thought I did, but I didn’t. (See my post “I Used to Be a Know-It-All.”) I was self-absorbed. A young, selfish husband. A young, selfish father. I still lived for myself.

No, I don’t want to be 21 forever.

Forever and a Day

How long is forever anyway? If I can be candid, the concept of eternity freaks me out. After I’m dead and raised to life again like Jesus promised—I’ll share more on this later—will I continue to age? What about my body? Will I go back to being 21, so I could be 21 forever? Honestly, I think I’m in better shape at 34 than when I was 21. Maybe I could be 34 forever, but without the salt in my pepper hair and beard.

Adam and Eve were created originally to live forever, but their disobedience (sin) ushered in death. How old were they before they sinned and thus commenced the deterioration of their bodies? 21?

What about my niece’s baby who never breathed in the toxic oxygen on earth—Aubree, whom I wrote about in “My Gift Is My Song”? She didn’t live a day outside the womb, not even a minute. How old will Aubree be when she is reunited with her mother? Will my niece have missed out on her baby’s toddler years? Will she never have gotten to rock her to sleep? Will God somehow return that to her when death is ultimately defeated?

You’re so vain … I bet you think this blog is about you

Our malls cater to our vanity. We want to look good even as we age. If possible, we’d even like to delay the effects of aging. But I wonder: Is it vanity or some other angst? A collective feeling of loss? Perhaps we sense that we were created to live forever, yet each day the mirror unmistakably attests to a considerably slow death.

Maybe I should just not pay attention to stores that force me to contemplate and write such heady posts for a Monday morning. Next time I’ll stick to Aeropostale, Brookstone, or even Spencer’s. Or maybe those Near East aromatherapy products.

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