“Time is on my side,” said Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones in 1964. I wonder if at age 70 Jagger is still singing it?
As young men we all think time is on our side, not just in relationships but in life itself. Life is there before us full of opportunities. “The world is our oyster,” we are invincible, we can do anything.
I don’t think I ever thought I’d get this far. I always thought I’d die young in some romantic, heroic adventure that would leave the world in mourning. And even when I did get this far and entered my 50’s I still thought that time was on my side. I’ve always said that if the support for the evangelistic mission I work with dried up, I’d go out and get a secular job – it was only the other day that I realised that at my age no one would employ me!
The real dawning of reality though happened three and a half years ago when I developed an irregular heart rhythm (AF). One day I was training to cycle from John O’Groat’s to Land’s End and the next a flight of stairs presented a challenge. It’s not a life-threatening condition but it is life-changing.
Suddenly I had to live life one day at a time. Of course that is all any of us ever do. We’re warned in James 4;13-17 not to be presumptuous in our planning. It is a learning process and a change of attitude and it’s one we’d all benefit from.
We’re often encouraged to count our blessings and obviously it’s a good thing to do. It makes for a nice discipline at homegroup or whilst on retreat – but it takes time. In my new situation I did have, in sense anyway, time on my side. I wasn’t spending half a day on my bike several times a week for instance.
I confess I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself in the beginning but eventually began to wrestle with the fact that if my Christian faith meant anything then it must sustain me through the difficult times as well as the good.
I began counting my blessings and concentrating on what I could do rather than what I couldn’t. Almost at the same time Mel Read began writing a column in the Times Magazine about her experiences after falling from a horse and breaking her neck. How could I feel sorry for myself compared to what she was experiencing?
Counting your blessings is a spiritual exercise when life is going well. It is an act of the will when life seems to be going badly, but doing so is immensely profitable at all times. We don’t know how much time is allotted to us, we don’t know what’s around the corner. This is the day the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice in it.
I never did cycle from ‘end to end’ but chose to concentrate on what I could do. I bought a motorcycle and rode around the four corners of Britain instead. You can read about that at – http://fourcornersbikeride.wordpress.com/about/