The election got me depressed. Not the results, that is another issue. What depressed me was seeing all the candidates that were younger than me being elected to office. I can remember when the people we voted for were old. Now I believe a good number of them are younger than me. And it’s only going to get worse.
It’s just kind of depressing when I see people achieving high levels in their chosen profession at a young age because the immediate comparison jumps to my mind. What have I done? As I watch and root for professional athletes on TV it occurs to me that they are children. I am twice the age of many of them. Guys that can only grow a few scraggly hairs on their chins are running multi-million dollar companies that they founded. Kids that are young enough to be my kids are pastoring large churches and publishing best sellers. And this isn’t all just hypothetical, a gymnast I used to coach has earned her doctorate and is a college professor now!
It all just depresses me as I think, have I just been sloughing off?
But then Zach reminds me that age is just a number. It doesn’t matter how my accomplishments measure up to anyone else. Zach’s development is way behind what other 8 year olds are doing. And each year he falls further behind. We used to look for the magic bullet, that one therapy or program that would click with Zach and catapult him into his developmental age bracket. Now I realize that will never happen, there is just too much ground to cover.
Meanwhile Zach keeps plodding along. He learns new things all the time. Recently he has become much more aware of his environment. He likes going downstairs and sitting on the couch. It’s like he’s just discovered a neat new place to hang out. We used to be able to easily sneak things past him that we didn’t want him to see (like birthday gifts or potato chips that were meant for dinner later). Now he notices these things. Shopping with Zach used to be a challenge because he just hated being in the store with all the noise and only wanted to leave. Now it’s difficult because he sees those Oreos and Zingers on the shelves. He has been watching his brother play video games and, for that matter, seems to really know that he has a brother now. And there are many other little things that happen from day to day.
He may be far behind, but he is still moving forward. It is like that wise motivational speaker says, Dory from Finding Nemo. “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” Life isn’t a sprint and in the end we aren’t measured against any other person. We’re just responsible for what we were given to work with. Jesus told a parable where a master entrusted his servants with money while he left on a long trip. The first servant doubles the 5 talents he was given and the second doubles the 2 he has. When the master returns the third servant is condemned not because he did not amass 10 talents like the first or 4 talents like the second, but because he did nothing with the 1 talent he was given.
Zach says don’t worry about how much you’ve got. Ask, “What am I doing with what I have?”