Father Alexis was so good as to point out that we are each of us all of these things. At various times. In various ways.
These are the danger years. I was speaking with my former priest, and he remarked on how so many of the folks in my former parish, who are my age, with kids in their teenage years, are no longer the "show up at every service" types.
We used to be. Lord knows, I was there! I used to be.
I am not any longer.
Like my title says: These are the Danger Years.
It is so easy for the cares and worries of life to choke out the spiritual fervor of our youth. I'm in my 40's now. My kids are teenagers, except for my tweleve year old who in some ways is more of a teenager than my 17 year old. I'm one of those moms: a mother of teens.
These are the danger years.
The days are so busy. I struggle with my health. I have so little energy, but lots of built in help if I need it. But no one can give me their energy for a 6 pm vespers service. I'll get there again, but the habit, for now, is gone. I've been sick. That's my excuse. He's busy at work. That's his excuse.
The are the danger years.
It's too easy to get focused on the material, the temporal...the busy-ness of the business of life.
It's easy to forget to pray. Or think "I'll pray later"....and later never comes because the evening is just as full as the day, or I'm too tired....whatever.
These are the danger years.
The worries and cares of life...as the gospel reading says...choke out the things of God. And we wake up and realize that the spiritual fervor of our youth is gone.
The danger years.
and the pleasures of life...the danger years. It's cozy and comfortable, being middle aged. Yes, we think a lot about our kids and how we will help them get through college or get launched in life. We think about how many decades of work is left before us before we will have to retire. W think about these things, and it is SO easy to forget the KINGDOM.
These are the danger years, I'm tellin' ya.
It's easy to get distracted and to forget. And to be so busy, and the Lord knows we are doing this all for GOOD, but then we lose something in the process of living that should never be lost.
I remember being in my 20's and looking at people my age now and scratching my head and wondering....why? But now I understand.
This is the challenge of these middle age years: Keep that sweetness of God's grace before me. Keep that fervor in prayer. Learn to pray from this broken place of fatigue, illness, and busyness that is incomprehensible until one experiences it.
Danger years can be good years. Because seeing the danger can focus us. I leave you (and really, I'm writing this to myself) with this:
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12: 1-3