I have just finished Gordon MacDonald's wonderful book, A Resilient Life. I wasn't ready for it to end. Why? Because I heard from a man (could have been a woman) who was 65 and fully alive. Yesterday, I was with my good friend who is 68 and I told him that I wanted to be like him when I am his age. Fully alive! He reads, thinks, and entertains new ideas and possibilities. The best days are not in the past but in the future.
Unfortunately, I have known too many people who shut down a long time ago. People who started talking about "getting old" when they were only in their 40's. Often, these people look at their past as their best days. Now they appear to be bored, cynical, and sometimes angry people. They stopped growing and learning a long time ago. Maybe there was a time when they would gladly entertain new ideas and possibilities. No more.
MacDonald speaks of the people (friends) in our lives who are important to us if we are to be resilient. He speaks of these people by asking these questions:
- Who coaches you? (How I've been blessed to have been encouraged, coached, mentored by some fine people)
- Who stretches your mind? (I have friends who do this. Also there are certain authors who I read no matter what subject they are writing about. They make me think)
- Who listens to and encourages your dreams? (What a gift! To have someone who will dream with me instead of telling me why it won't work)
- Who will protect you? (It hurts to hear that a "friend" has spoken badly of me when I am not around. It is so energizing to hear of a friend who stood up for me when I was not around)
- Who are those who share your tears? (Friends who will share my frustration and disappointment) (pp. 226-238)
There are other questions that he mentions as well. All of these questions remind me that if I am to stay fully alive in my walk with God, and in my life as a human being, it will require other human beings. We really were not meant to live this life alone.
"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" (Prov. 18:24)
"Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel" (Prov. 27:9)