By: Dennis Bates
Although I would prefer the term mature, I have to confess that I am the old guy here. That being said, I should be the one who displays a certain decorous panache gleaned from the wisdom and knowledge brought by years of experience. Unbridled enthusiasm should be the province of those far younger than I. Whether that’s true or not in either case remains to be seen.
All I can say for certain at this point is that I am a Baby Boomer whose time has come. Those of us who were born in that era after WWII were contrary by nature and irreverent by training both at home and in the schools, and we thought that meant we would change the world. Yet as we stand upon the threshold of retirement we realize two things: we are not babies anymore and the boom we thought we might create–didn’t, even though our sheer numbers alone could have changed things for the better. Why is it then that those of us who come from that era face a world that thinks we are at best an anachronism, and at worst a totally irrelevant disappointment?
To some degree the assessments are overly harsh and unfair. It is doubtful that any other single generation has witnessed and to some degree been responsible for the breadth and the depth of technological change that we have seen. Our generation saw advances that put a man on the moon, developed computers, microchips, and all things electronic. Those are only a few examples.
However, many of us still feel unfulfilled and almost cheated out of the richness of life that should have been ours. We slipped from meaningful to lucrative, having enough to always want more, and eternal to temporal with far too much ease, and now we wonder how and why. The answers are fairly simple. We lost focus and our sense of what was important and real. We became convinced that making a living was more important than just living. We filled our lives with acquiring stuff, none of which really made us happy.
In my case I left the field of journalism and writing and went to law school. I made a decent living even as an attorney for the government, but my heart was always in writing; it was the passion placed inside me from the beginning, and as every day went by, I grew more and more afraid that I had quenched the passion that burned in my life and had nothing but charred embers left to see me into my “Golden Years.”
But the contrary nature that was my birthright as Baby Boomer would not allow me to turn my back on that purpose just yet. In spite of the fact that we lost focus, there was something to come back to that I had never embraced fully enough, and that something was God. We got a lot of things wrong, but so many of us in my generation were raised in the church. Sunday services, youth groups and other church functions were just part of what we did growing up. Unfortunately they were a part that was cast off first in many cases as we challenged everything, but as Proverbs put it eloquently in Chapter 22, verse 6, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
I got that training, and although I will not confess to being old, being older is certainly within reach. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I read one of my favorite passages from the Bible, Isaiah 40:29-31. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
I prayed over that verse after I retired from my government job and the fire inside me started burning again. I knew that I had to write again, so I did. I found that I was led to write love stories how a man would see them and I wanted to keep them steeped in a Christian world view. I still write about women, but I also write about men. My stories deal with the topics that the Christians I know deal with and they are not all sweet. I have nothing against sweet romances and the authors who write them. I respect them, read them and learn from them. But I have been called to write differently.
I always wondered why I met this slightly zany, but spirit-filled woman with an endless supply of energy who started this venture now called Spirit Light. I will write more in the future about that process, but let me summarize. My first book will be officially released March 30, 2008, largely because of the efforts of that woman. Again too many details, too little space for that here, but I know now why we met.
Peter quotes from the prophet Joel in Acts 2:17-21 and describes the last days. I don’t know if these are the last days of not, but these verses still explain a lot to me about why I’m here with my friend Staci. God promises in those verses to pour out his Spirit on all people both men and women so that young men will see visions and old men will dream dreams. Both men and women will prophesy about the wonders in the heaven above and the signs on the earth below, and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
We have both felt the outpouring of the Spirit, and I dream that Staci’s vision will lead to more people calling on the name of the Lord. It’s the focus we lost in my generation, but as Isaiah said in the verses above, those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength and soar on wings like eagles.
On a shelf above one of my computers I have a picture in green crayon fashioned by Staci’s young son of my backyard (he has never seen it). I also have an irregular wooden cross one of her daughters made using her own power saw. Next to them are two eagles. the smaller of the two sits on a Bible I received from my parents on Christmas 1966 and the larger eagle with wings spread wide and majestically sits on a copy of the Message Bible that has special significance to Staci and I.
When I look up there I see the awesome power that the Holy Spirit brings from a young woman who has a vision and an older man who has a dream, and I know that I am indeed a Baby Boomer whose time has come. I’m not the only one. There is hope for all of us who simply and completely wait on the Lord.