I’ve noticed that the older I get, the less I care what people think of me. And I’m not just talking about my hair. But instead of turning me into a cynic (“who CARES what people think?!!”…) it’s turning me toward and into engagement with others. What a concept. Rather than collapsing into hardened, guarded opinions and positions as we move toward crusty geezerdom, there is the option and the freedom to simply ask “why?”, with the “why” not springing from a need to then hijack the conversation as we may have done in our oh-so insecure youth, but instead to simply enter into it with authentic interest and openness. Hey, if Truth exists, I’m not sure it needs my efforts to protect it. The penetration of truth, and not the protection of truth, seems to me the proper longing and ambition for seasoned types. And God knows I’m being seasoned.
There’s an interesting New Testament concept regarding foolishness, and it’s one that we might not imagine at first blush. It speaks of God’s wisdom as really being accessible only to the foolish, only to those willing to enter into folly. I know of course that everyone’s keen to hear that, and yet with the piles of so-called insight that you and I are accumulating in our modern world, might this invitation to folly be a portal? An entry into a new dimension? Come on, you know you’ve always wanted to be genuinely rather than commonly foolish. So here’s your chance.
Related to this is the concern I’ve always had that, as a non-academic, there are severe limits on what I can “know.” Restrictions on what I might acquire as “wisdom.” But it seems to me (again, to reference the “folly” above) that it may in fact be the wisdom of God that allows true wisdom to be accessed only via foolishness. I’m not talking about being intellectually flaccid, but instead embracing a foolishness that perhaps has humility as its companion. Also, what little I know personally of the intellect’s cousin, Sophistication, or at least the observation of it in settings over the course of my life, is that it becomes a tiresome burden… an awkward, life-sucking weight, always demanding diligent maintenance to sustain its image. As maybe it is image and not substance after all. Pity the man who spends his life in the care and feeding of sophistication. What a boor.
But the man open to folly… that is someone I would drink with. And someone I would walk with. And perhaps someone I would die with.