I have always been an optimistic and happy person. Even when life presented me with trials and tribulations, I was still able to find a reason to smile and to maintain a pleasant disposition. Even when dealing with unpleasant people or events, I tried to keep a smile on my lips and a sparkle in my eye.
But, there is the reality of life that eventually begins to intrude. There are the sadnesses that occur in all our lives - deaths of loved ones, financial uncertainties, job stresses. There are the boredoms of obligations, the ennui of familiarity and the emptiness of disappointment.
After a while, it becomes more difficult to find a reason to smile. When you see cruelty and spite in people you had respected and liked, it becomes more difficult to find a positive element. When you see greed, envy and anger controlling the actions of those around you, the prospect of isolation does not seem so bad. And, when victories are far outweighed by defeats, your ability to pull together any positive thoughts begins to wane.
These days, I find myself becoming one of those grouchy old men I once made fun of when I was young. I grouse about the weather, complain about the music and comment on the silliness of so many others. I find it more and more difficult to see anything positive in those around me and I am more and more disappointed in my own shortcomings and failings.
Grouchy old men comment on the world around them. They look for the things that can go wrong and they anticipate the negative outcome of every situation. They see youngsters as mewling and needy children who want all rewards; but, who do not understand the need to work and pay penance. The grouch old men spend their days wondering where their youth went to, and what has happened to the generations that have followed them.
But, grouchy old men also help remind us that there is a purpose to our lives. They understand the importance of forgiveness and mercy, and they honor service and honor. Grouchy old men have walked many roads, traveled many paths, and sampled many banquets. During this process, they have learned that they will be disappointed at times. They know that in order to learn, the youth must first experience. Until they have learned the lessons for themselves, the youth see the advice of grouch old men as nothing more than complaints.
This past weekend, I was in full grouch old man mode. It had been a very long week, I had a bug that was making life very complicated, and I had lots of tasks to be completed before the week could be done.
On Friday, there was the graduation of the MHS Class of 2014. There was also a funeral down in the Boerne for the 16-year-old son of one of my classmates.
On Saturday, there was a baptism at the James River Crossing of the Llano River. Four young people committed their lives to Christ, while three others reaffirmed their commitment.
And, on Sunday, the seven young men and women stood before the altar at First United Methodist Church where they were confirmed into a life of Christian service. Three of them then joined the church.
I was blessed to be a Friend in the Faith to one of the seven confirmands. Mickey stood at the altar with my hand on one should, and his parents' hands on the other. He knelt in prayer as we stood with him. Up and down the prayer rail, the same was happening with Whitt, Aaron, Madelyn, Clay, Megan and Zane. The look of joy and pride on those seven young adults' faces melted my heart.
Like the great glaciers, my heart was warmed to see the promise and the hope in the sanctuary, down at the river, and out at the football stadium. I tried my hardest to keep the smile off my face, to keep the twinkle out of my eye,,, but, I couldn't do it.
Grouchy old men are just playing a role. We give the young a reason to smile, a reason to grow, and a reason to succeed. Our lives are not over, for we have many more miles to go on our own journeys. And, we will still smile when the time is right.
It’s all just my opinion.