Focus on the Family, September, 1992, p. 13
That Age-Old Question
It's a lazy Sunday afternoon, and my 5-year-old son, Stephen, and I are sprawled across the couch. I'm reading aloud from C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, and my boy is lapping up every word.
With each page, he studies my every inflection. Ah, quality time.
"Daddy," my blond son interrupts. "You're getting old."
"What did you say, Stephen?"
"You kinda look like Grandpa," he replies.
My son's blue eyes are scrutinizing me, searching for signs of age.
"What do you mean, I look like Grandpa?" I try to remain calm, but inside I'm losing it.
"You have lines on your head."
"No, I don't Do I?"
"Here, Here and here. You're getting old."
Oh, boy. I didn't need to hear this.
"Do you think I'm going to die soon, Stephen?"
"I don't know. How many are you?"
"I'm 30 years old. Remember? I just blew out 30 candles on my cake&md;or at least, most of them?
"How many is 30?"
"Well, it's this many three times," I say, showing him my hands with all the fingers outstretched.
His blue eyes are really big now.
"Yep, you're old."
Now, I realize it doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine that the crown of my head bears a striking resemblance to a mosquito landing zone. But until now, I thought I was doing all right. After all, 40 years is old, not 30. No way.
As I straighten up on the couch, the sad truth begins to sink in: I am 30. Three-oh, no longer a kid. No longer do the neighborhood children call me "Phil." To them,
I'm "Mr. Callaway." The college and up-and-coming pro athletes aren't my contemporaries. They're kids.
What do I have to show for three decades on plant earth?
It's not incredible wealth. We have a car that's paid for, but the house is a rental. Like most folks, we're just plugging along.
Now that I'm "old," I realize wealth is not measured in things you can touch. Fame never got anyone to heaven. What is worth leaving is my faith in Jesus Christ. Yes, Stephen, that is what I want to leave you.
We are rich, my son. Rich in relationships. Rich in memories.
Rich in fun. I may not look that good in the will, but for someone approaching retirement age at light speed, it's worth smiling about.
- Phil Callaway