we are still the same person
When it comes to change in life, we are always the same person. It’s just that we happen to find ourselves inhabiting a different place, being at a different point in history. Nowhere is this more true than in the context of ageing. No matter what your age is, you remain the person you were when you first encountered yourself as an autonomous human being. This generally happens around the age of two. It is what gives rise to the frustration and anger that so besets the lives of children in these earliest moments of real consciousness. We become conscious beings, or selves, in the moment we understand that the fulfilment of our desires and needs depend on other people, so when the young child cannot make herself understood because she has not yet fully developed the faculty of language, she becomes frustrated, angry and ultimately unhappy.
As we move into our later years we become increasingly dependent on others. Relationships start to matter perhaps more than we ever realised. The regrets relating to damaged relationships are one of the most painful things we have to endure as we get older.
In Christ we have a God who is with us, not only in these regrets, but in our remembering of all the circumstances which led to a particular unhappiness. We are given his life to live, from this moment on. He offers it in exchange for our own lives, both past and present. This makes it possible to see the changes which we experience as ‘hidden’ in his life. So, not only the aging process, but all the other major life transitions belong in his one eternal life. Transitions begin at around the age of two and return at various specific moments such as going to school for the first time, leaving home for college, marriage and the breakdown of marriage, bereavement and, ultimately, death itself. We live and ultimately die in his life and resurrection. In doing this, we also live in the assurance of his ongoing life, as it is now, in the energy and love of his Spirit.