Sure, I've seen him care-worn, tired from studying far too late into the night, weary from a hectic schedule, but until now, it hadn't struck me that he'd become perhaps a little...seasoned?
I wish I could have snapped a picture from my vantage point, my Man in the top left of the frame and the young missionary in the lower right, separated by twenty feet or so and almost as many years. Both men with a call on their lives, both with families of their own to care for and to minister to, and both with God-given faith families to care for and to minister among.
There is much of life that is lived within a span of twenty years.
"Give us this day..." my pastor Man preached that day. This day...these days...time marching with a loud step and shining a bright light on a son entering his teens, a daughter becoming much more a young woman than a young girl, and our two littles, they aren't very little...at all...anymore.
While I was busy gaping, open-mouthed as my children high-stepped in the parade of time, I'd failed to notice that my Man and I are marching in the very same parade. Certainly we aren't stepping as high as the children, and maybe not as fast, and most likely, we are marching to a different drummer...but like our children, we too march with time.
We tease now and then, my Man and I, about growing old, and when we laugh about it, I see laugh lines in his face and a happy sight those are, evidence that joy and laughter have been present alongside of the weariness and wakefulness in his seasoning.
The young missionary asked my Man about his favorite books over a shared meal and I loved the sound of the conversation and the light in the older man's eye. A day later, I too asked him a bookish question:
"What books are you loving lately?"
"Oh," he considered, "I've got quite a few started that I'm really interested in right now. There's the biography of Charles Simeon that I've been telling you about, one on leadership, there's one about overarching story of the Bible and how it all fits together, a prayer book by Bounds, then there's one called The Practices of a Healthy Church, and one on midlife by Paul David Tripp, also---"
"Hang on. Did you say you were reading a book about midlife?" the minister/missionary picture rushing to mind in rich color, "You?"
"Yes, me. It's supposed to be an excellent book."
"Hmmmmm," said I, gazing at the image in my head, "how 'bout that."
And then I told my pastor about the picture I'd wanted to take earlier that morning.
(The first chapter is called "MidLife: A Portrait." No kidding.)