Last night I went to pick up my certificates for previous exams, and our old headteacher came back to give us a speech on moving on through the different phases of life.
It was interesting of course, although rather long – yet of course every assembly speech back then was like that! I couldn’t help but disagree with him though and grumble inside at parts of what he said. I had mental pictures of me jumping up onto the stage and speaking… rather preaching… about what it was to move on and grow up.
Sure Mr P got it right when he spoke of moving on through the various stages of life, to have to be able to let go of the past to get on in the world. Yet I couldn’t help but feel slightly more optimistic. We keep those moments inside us. They’re still there, as a part of our past but a part of our present, popping up every now and then inside to remind us of pleasant things, of perhaps (lets hope less frequently) unpleasant things, yet all-round moments of learning and living.
What really got me was when he said you’ve all grown up now. Time to get on in the world.
Literally, I shuddered. Sorry Mr P. But I couldn’t help myself. We’ve all grown up? No we haven’t. Far from it. Sure we’re a bit taller and more mature then we used to be, but we are constantly developing, constantly learning, constantly ‘growing’. And that’s ok. That’s what living is. To live in this world is to grow in this world. We learn something new every day yes. We are all still learning. And if we think for even a fraction of a moment that we aren’t anymore, then something is seriously wrong. To fully live in this life we have to accept and know that we cannot know everything, we cannot be the wisest or the strongest or the loveliest without knowing that we are growing. Children even in our retirement years. Yet that is a marvellous prospect. To never lose ourselves in age. To be eternally 5 and free, yet eternally 50 and wise. To be living in every day, letting no number create judgements or boundaries upon ourselves or any other human being.
I loved it when a dear friend once told me that even though they were growing older every day, the 20 year old and the 6 year old weren’t lost. They were still a part of the image of the whole being. We grow up all the time. We learn all the time. Because we are Alive.
Mr P’s speech was again a marvellous reminder of why I called my blog ‘Growing up with God’ all those months ago when I started here. Because I am growing up with God. I was when I started, I was before, I still am now, and I always will be. As will you.
Am I grown up? No. Will I ever be grown up? If there is such a thing, I expect it will arrive in the next place of time. I’ll meet up with my friend then and tell them they were right.