Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Sappy Old Geezer

Are you familiar with the intricacies of the Malthusian growth model? No? Don't worry - I wasn’t either. The Malthusian growth model says that if you lean up against a tree, you will get sap all over your shirt. Now, you can’t just use a wet towel on it like you can blood or dirt. And you can’t peel it off with your fingernails, although you can’t resist the temptation to try. It just smears around, sap-afy-ing an ever increasing area. Sap is exponential! And thus you have proven Malthus’ theory of compounding.

OK… I confess... the Malthusian growth model has nothing to do with sap. It has to do with population growth. I just wanted to talk about sap. And in all fairness, the more people there are, the more tree sap gets on shirts. So there!

That was before I found myself struggling to cope with one day at a time. For me it could have said “Five Minutes at a Time, Sweet Jesus…”

The reason I want to talk about sap is because I’m trying to figure out why I’m getting more and more sappy. (Spell-check says I’m getting sappier and sappier, but then spell-check says there’s no such word as ‘sap-afy-ing’, and we know better.) According to the dictionary ‘Sappy’ either means consisting largely of sapwood, or being excessively sentimental. It’s that second definition I’m talking about.

There was a time in my life when I could boast of only having cried at one movie – Shindler’s List; although I almost cried every time George Bailey read his telegram from Sam Wainwright. Hee Haw! Now any movie with a cute puppy or a snot-nosed kid makes my lip quiver; but especially if the decent guy gets the pretty girl. Reference Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, French Kiss… And no, it’s not a Meg Ryan thing.

There was a time when I sneered at syrupy songs such as “One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus”. But that was before I found myself struggling to cope with one day at a time. For me it could have said “Five Minutes at a Time, Sweet Jesus…” So now when I hear that song I remember how things were and I thank God I have plans for the future.

There was a time when I slept through most sermons – albeit with my eyes open. But now, Stephanie is teaching the ladies’ bible study at church, and this morning she read me her notes - and I struggled to keep from tearing up.

I have a theory. I think the older I get, the more I’ve seen the hand of God in my life. And the closer I draw to God, the more my heart tenders. And the softer my heart becomes, the more I am able to hear from and respond to the voice of God. And the more I move into God’s will, the more contented I am.

Maybe I’m just becoming an old geezer. Or maybe it’s not a coincidence that ‘sappy’ rhymes with ‘happy’.

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