Archive for January, 2019

Don’t Let The Old Man In

Posted: January 16, 2019 in World On The Edge

You will come to the grave in full vigor, Like the stacking of grain in its season. Job 5:26

Old age is nothing we wish for, except for the genuine wisdom in it. And yet, we will all get there, and we know it.

I thought this was worth sharing. It starts with two of my favorites: Toby Keith playing golf with Clint Eastwood. That sets the stage. At one point, Eastwood said to Keith, “I turn 88 on Monday.”

“What are you going to do?” Keith asked.

“I’m going to shoot a movie,” Eastwood replied, with filming scheduled to begin the following week.

“What keeps you going?” Keith asked him.

“I get up every day and don’t let the old man in,” Eastwood said.

“I’m writing this down right now,” Keith replied.

Keith didn’t ask him if he could contribute a song, Keith just went home and wrote it, sent it to Clint and hoped that he would consider it. And, he did.

Here it is:
“Don’t Let The Old Man In”
(from “The Mule” soundtrack)

Don’t let the old man in
I want to live me some more
Can’t leave it up to him
He’s knocking on my door

And I knew all of my life
That someday it would end
Get up and go outside
Don’t let the old man in

Many moons I have lived
My body’s weathered and worn
Ask yourself how old you’d be
If you didn’t know the day you were born

Try to love on your wife
And stay close to your friends
Toast each sundown with wine
Don’t let the old man in

Many moons I have lived
My body’s weathered and worn
Ask yourself how old you’d be
If you didn’t know the day you were born

When he rides up on his horse
And you feel that cold bitter wind
Look out your window and smile
Don’t let the old man in
Look out your window and smile
Don’t let the old man in

It has become almost cliché to say that before you can truly love someone else, you must first love yourself.  Cliché or not, the statement is true.

But we cannot love a false self.  We are more than mannequins dressed by another’s intentions. We have to know who we are–for Real.

Loving oneself begins with digging deep to be honest about who we are and what we do. Digging deep to discover the things we are good at, and loving those things about ourselves. Digging deep to discover our faults, our flaws, and doing something about those so that we can love ourselves. Because love is not just a word, it is always action.

When Jesus talked about the greatest commandment of all, He quoted Deuteronomy 6:5 and said we are to love God with all our heart. But He also added the second greatest commandment: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. God wants us to love ourselves, the way He created us to be.

Oddly, or maybe miraculously, the way to honestly loving ourselves is by loving others. How many times have you felt a certain excitement over what you’ve done for another–a word of encouragement, an act of mercy, a simple gift to another of something he/she desperately needs?

Conversely, don’t we feel disheartened when we try to be only what another wants us to be–especially if what another wants us to be goes against our moral code? That’s the failure to love ourselves. That’s being untrue to the core of who we are.

If we want to be happy, we must realize that God loves us terribly, and because He does, we can love ourselves, too–enough that we want to be worthy of His divine love. As it always does, God’s love calls us to action. And to possible change.

There is a story, Bluebird of Happiness, in my short story collection, “Birds of a Feather,” in which a physician misuses his profession in an attempt to keep peace with his controlling wife. He puts that misguided peace above being true to his own moral core. Of course, he is unhappy with himself, with his life, and with his wife. I think many of us do something like this only to please others, or to keep some tranquility. But it does not make us happy. Loving ourselves in the right way is what will actually make us happy.

Taking to heart other people’s opinions of us as if they were Truth— though sometimes those opinions may flatter us, as well as put us down–is not the way to the joy of knowing and loving ourselves.

It’s a new year, so let’s take some time out to discover  what we’re good at, or what we’d like to be better at. Take off any false image we have of ourselves that someone else may have thrown upon us. Then we will find the goodness within us that it takes to love ourselves, and because of that goodness, which can only come from Almighty God, we can also become vessels of love for others as well.