The Best Years of LifeAbout thirty years ago, when I was playing in a park with my little daughters, an old woman said to me, "You'd better enjoy this—these are the best years of your life." As I recall, I made some polite rejoinder and moved away, having no desire to converse with someone who had just announced she was miserable and resented it.
Now and then as I grow older, the children having grown and moved away and the bones creaking more every year, her remark returns to mind and must be dealt with. There is a sense in which she was right, but what she said tempts with of a kind of morbidity to which we should not succumb. It is the sort I see in the people who spend hours in old high-school yearbooks reliving what they now, having failed in life, recognize as their best years, times filled with life and hope they now have lost.
There is a kindred phenomenon in which older people who can afford it, cringing in the sight of imminent death, rage at the dying of the light not by complaining, but by making clowns of themselves pretending to be young. My wife and I are receiving a great deal of advertising aimed at this group, embarrassing and insulting because it seeks profit by helping people become useless vessels of self-amusement through an event called "retirement," which no Christian should ever think about doing as long as he has breath in his body and his wits about him. Our vocation (whatever we have done for a living) is to divine service as long as we are on this earth; the holiday is later.
True Sustenance for Old Age
THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:
S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!
Transactions will be processed on a secure server.
Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.
OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)
Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.
more from the online archives
calling all readers
"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand
"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor