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Friday, July 25, 2014

It's bad to be jealous of others!

Posted Monday, November 14, 2011, at 12:37 PM

One of my responsibilities in Greencastle includes being the University Chaplain for DePauw. It allows me to be around young adults who are some of the brightest and most gifted people I've ever known. And it means that I'm around more 18- to 23-year-olds than at any other time in my life except for when I was that age.

I had been warned that there might be times I found myself jealous of students, wishing that I might be their young age instead of the middle age I find myself to be. In over five years of serving this community I have never felt that feeling until recently.

This year I've noticed a large number of students transporting themselves on roller-boards. These miniature surfboards for dry land have four rolling coasters and a platform just large enough on which to stand sideways. A student can establish a fast speed on a roller-board, even fast enough to stay current in traffic with automobiles. The safety of "the driver" might be a question left for experts in the field of insurance!

Zoom! There goes a student sailing through campus from building to building. Zoom! There goes another student on his way to a meeting on the other side of campus. (I don't remember seeing any women piloting a roller-board.) Zoom! Down the street go three students out for an afternoon cruise.

This looks like it would be a lot of fun to do!

Why didn't they have roller-boards when I was that age?

I haven't felt this jealous of a population since visiting Bondi Beach east of Sydney, Australia and watching hundreds of surfers one afternoon. I want to roller-board! Of course if I fell off the thing I would break an arm or a leg or my hip. I know that my skills and agility wouldn't come close to that of a 20-year-old. I don't care. I WANT to roller-board!

This is different than the 50-year-olds who were jealous that I owned a computer in the 1980s. That change came about in technology and I knew several that age and older who became experts at operating computers. This is different than the 60-year-olds who were jealous of my ponytail. That change came about in culture and I knew several that age who eventually grew ponytails and beards much longer than mine.

I'm jealous of youth. I could have all the training and practice money could buy. I'm too old to ride a roller-board. My time has passed for such an adventure as that to be mine. Zoom! That wasn't me ...

I'm awfully glad to be the age I am and to have lived as long as I have. I'm awfully glad for the adventures I've experienced and to have done all (well, most) of the things I've had the privilege and the good fortune to have done. I've lived life to the fullest and have done what I wanted to do at all the earlier ages of my life. And, and, ... I'm getting old. Woops, let's change that. I'm not THAT yet.

I'm getting older.

The Scriptures of the western monotheistic faiths include a powerful passage that begins with "for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." If I were publishing a paraphrase of that passage I might include "there is a time for roller-boarding and a time to refrain from roller-boarding." I'm jealous of those who can and I'm jealous of the fun it looks to me that roller-boarders are having.

And, it's just not "my time."

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Sunshine for the Soul
Rev. P.T. Wilson
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P.T. Wilson is the senior pastor at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, Greencastle, and is also the University Chaplain at DePauw University.
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