Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vintage Faith

I was born an old soul.  At least, I was born older.  I was always the responsible and serious one.  I listened to 70's music and the classical music station in Junior High (and it was the 80s).  I bossed my sisters around and asked my friends, "are you sure this is allowed??"  As a young adult I often heard people tell me that I was wise for my age.  (unfortunately now my age has far surpassed my wisdom!)

I also am a sentimental fool.  I love things with meaning, things with stories.  I think family traditions are one of the best things since sliced bread.  And by bread, I mean the kind with stone ground wheat cooked up on a real hearth.  

I love to see clothes up on the line.  I love homemade jam.  I love to find boxes in my Grandma's closet filled with treasures that once belonged to her grandmother.  I keep a journal and write down the stories of my life..I have since I was 10.  I love the smell of old books.  And records.  And old photos.  I love the wedding ring in my jewelry box that once belonged to my mother.  I love to see a church with a steeple.  And pews.  I LOVE pews.  

I have an active imagination and I imagine all the people who walked these roads before me.  And when there are pews, well, I imagine all those who have sat before me.  I imagine those who have worshipped before, struggled before, prayed before, failed and persevered before.  

There are those before these wooden churches.. who I read about in the Bible...Abraham and David, Elijah, Paul and Peter.. those truly human souls who often make the rest of us look good on the one hand and then shamefully apathetic and unbelieving on the other.  There is the Mother Theresa and the Billy Graham and William Wilberforce and Florence Nightingale and Elizabeth Elliot, who lived (and live!) with such faith and conviction that I feel humbled and challenged to trust in a God who can do great things with ordinary people.  

But my spiritual heritage is also made up of people like my Grandma.  Who one day, having nothing to eat, and no money in the bank, prayed to God and said "Lord, you own the cattle on a thousand hills, could you spare some food for us?" That same afternoon a neighbor came over with a side of beef for my grandparents, saying there was too much for their family and could they share?  My Grandfather kept a list of names in his bible, of those he prayed over every day...the names of my parents, my cousins, my name.  My Grandpa has passed on from this world, but I think often of the example he set, of the path he led, both the victories of faith and the failings that made him see his need for God.  

Today Ryan and I had the privilege of sharing a meal and some conversation with the WOW (Wiser, Older, Wittier...aka over 65) group at our church.  Afterwards, a 95 year old woman came up and gave me a hug and kissed me on the cheek.  I cannot express quite how much that simple action blessed my day.  This woman has seen more of the world, experienced more change, more loss, more Sundays on a pew, more moments on her knees.  I love that God has designed this life to not go it alone, and he provides people who can forge ahead and who we can learn from.  Oh the stories she can tell!  I am challenged in this "Me-generation" to listen and to appreciate.

What some may see as old and outdated, I see as "standing the test of time" and of lasting interest and importance; venerable; classic.  This was a definition I found for the word "Vintage."  In this pinterest-loving age, I think many of us are learning to love these things that have history, that have significance.  And yet, we don't always recognize how they also can shape us and teach us. And how it isn't just the vintage "things" (like Model T's and WWII memorabilia) and the vintage "experiences" (like keeping chickens in the backyard, or embroidering a handkerchief..).  It is the ideas and the people as well.  It is the faith.  

 I am also challenged to recognize my part in the continuum.  That the way I live out my faith will impact future generations for better or for worse.  Today though, I am thankful to share in the rich history of millions of Christ-followers before me.


MrV Biology said...

Sara, this reminded me so much of the godly men and women that loved on me in my growing up years. I look around, and so many of them are gone. It's hard to see myself needing to step up to that plate when I still think of myself like a kid.

Sara Rosenbaum said...

Thanks for sharing MrV - that is so great that you had those men and women in your life - I pray that you find your own way in this difficult world we live in!