Old Souls & Young Souls

Recently I ran across a poem that grabbed me…

When I can no more stir my soul to move,

And life is but the ashes of a fire;

When I can but remember that my heart

Once used to live and love, long and aspire—

Oh, be thou then the first, the one thou art;

Be thou the calling, before all answering love,

And in me wake hope, fear, boundless desire.

From the Dairy of an Old Soul, George MacDonald

How did that poem impact you?

I suspect that your stage of life had a lot to do with it.

For much of my life, this poem would probably have passed through my mind like a stone thrown into a pond – visible for a moment and then soon forgotten as it sank into the murky waters of forgetfulness. 

But now, being a bit of an old soul myself, it resonated. 

Furthermore, having parents and a mother-in-law well into their ‘80s and having several older mentors and friends that I dearly love and care for, it made me think about them especially. 

As a younger man, I wish I had been more sensitive to the needs of my elders, but how could I have known?  To truly understand how it feels to be an old soul you have to…well…be an old soul.

But there is something that I do know about, and that’s being a young soul. 

Those of us who are “older souls” can find ourselves getting a little resentful with these young souls who come bursting into our lives with hopes and dreams and excitement and promises, and vision-casting and talking about great things ahead but who have little appreciation or understanding of the past…our past.

And to make matters worse, they want us to pitch in and pay for their vision of a better future from our hard-earned money and with our weary backs.  And they want us to be excited about it. 

But we’re old souls—we’ve been there done that and are not that motivated to do it all again. 

But maybe one of the reasons God has allowed us to live long enough to become “old souls” is so that we can remember what it is like to be a “young soul” and be there for this latest generation entering those critical years where visions and hopes and dreams are so fragile. 

The ONE THING for today: Perhaps the mission for we old souls is to get on board with the young souls—not because we feel like it, but because we understand and can thus protect the young souls till they sort it all out and make life better for all of us. 

And to you young souls…I’ve lived long enough to witness the impossible happen.  It’s now your turn…dream big, go big, dare to do the impossible!  I’ve got your back.

Photo by Jana Sabeth on Unsplash

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