RITE OF PASSAGE: ‘Lazy Boy lessons’
Life is nothing but a series of transitions…all spinning in a circle. You began your life totally dependent on someone else to take care of you, and most likely, you will end up . . . dependent on someone else to take care of you. Still, the ride between the first days and the final ones should be filled with joy.
My life is in that transition phase right now. More than 30 years ago, I started working with teenagers. Back in those days, they often told me, “I wish I had a boyfriend like you.” Then, they began to say, “I wish I had a dad like you.” Now, the teenagers that I know say, “I wish I had a granddad like you.”
You know you are getting older when your insurance company starts sending you its free calendar . . . one month at a time. You know you are getting older when it takes longer to rest than it did to get tired. You know you are getting older when you begin every other sentence, “Nowadays.” Life has a way of moving forward, and I do not find those “over the hill” sayings quite as funny as I used to.
I have arrived at an age where I am beginning to notice some weird things happening. Last week, my wife and I went to a department store at the mall. I spent most of my time checking out the easy chairs. Many years ago, she had to drag me away from the sports department-even though my idea of exercise is sitting in the bathtub, pulling the plug and fighting the current. Even then, I could always daydream. For the past 10 years, I have spent most of my time daydreaming in the electronics and computer section. Over the last few months, I’ve started to sense a magnetic pull . . . straight to the Lazy Boy department. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to stay away from that section of the store. After all, if you’re going to daydream . . . you might as well be comfortable while you do it.
You have to understand: I do not just look at these chairs. I study them again and again, comparing the latest models and personally testing every one I can find. I am not one to brag, but these days, I can more than hold my own at our church’s senior adult potluck suppers. I can talk recliners with the best of them! I have spent more time researching and test-driving these comfortable chairs than I did my last car.
What I’m really looking for is a recliner with its own unique style. It cannot be just any old chair such as my Grandpa’s old recliner-it has to be the Cadillac of easy chairs. Since some of the latest models have more features than my car, I am always interested in the number and kinds of options each chair has. Does it have a compartment for that all-important remote control? Does it have massagers? Do the massagers come with heat? Does it have “zone controls”? (After all, a day may come when I only want to massage my shoulders). How many positions does the footrest have?
All the time I have spent sitting in these chairs, however, seems to have caused some brain damage. Suddenly, I notice myself paying more and more attention to the location of the nearest Luby’s Cafeteria. My vocabulary also seems to be changing. When I sit in these chairs, I find myself with the uncontrollable compulsion to say words like “whippersnapper,” “scalawag” and “by-crickety.” When and how did these expressions find their way into my vocabulary? I have no earthly idea.
As I grow older, my relationship with my sons is changing, too. One of them even sent me a letter-something he had never done before. He wrote about how proud he was of me and about his concerns for my health. I found myself missing the days when he used to crawl up onto my lap so we could snuggle. Still, I had to smile as I read his words. This may mark the beginning of a new dimension in our relationship. I wonder, do they sell a recliner . . . built for two?
Dear Father, I am one who does not make changes easily. I need to learn that as my child grows, so do I. The nature of our relationship changes through time, and I go from being the parent to being a friend, mentor and encourager. Above all, help me take the steps to begin weaning my child from me so he can more closely identify with . . . You. Amen.