The book of Ecclesiastes has this memorable passage – quoted below from the New King James Version:
Ecclesiastes 12:1-7 (NKJV)
1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, “ I have no pleasure in them”:
2 While the sun and the light, the moon and the stars, are not darkened, and the clouds do not return after the rain;
3 In the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men bow down; when the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look through the windows grow dim;
4 When the doors are shut in the streets, and the sound of grinding is low; when one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of music are brought low.
5 Also they are afraid of height, and of terrors in the way; When the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper is a burden, and desire fails.
For man goes to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets.
6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the well.
7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
This may sound like just a beautiful but cryptic poem to you – but consider the version from New Living Translation which shares the true meaning of this passage about ageing and remembering God in our youth:
Ecclesiastes 12:1-7 (NLT)
1 Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.”
2 Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky.
3 Remember him before your legs—the guards of your house—start to tremble; and before your shoulders—the strong men—stoop. Remember him before your teeth—your few remaining servants—stop grinding; and before your eyes—the women looking through the windows—see dimly.
4 Remember him before the door to life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Now you rise at the first chirping of the birds, but then all their sounds will grow faint.
5 Remember him before you become fearful of falling and worry about danger in the streets; before your hair turns white like an almond tree in bloom, and you drag along without energy like a dying grasshopper, and the caperberry no longer inspires sexual desire. Remember him before you near the grave, your everlasting home, when the mourners will weep at your funeral.
6 Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well.
7 For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
This passage sprung to mind, especially verse 5 about the blossoming of the almond tree when Yani told me that she could see more silver hair at the back of my head after I had my haircut. I jokingly mentioned to her that the almond tree has started to blossom! So this evening, after our full day activities which started with a prayer meeting, and then a visit to the Dutch Club in Greenfields for the Dutch Festival and the Koninginnedag celebration (we went there a tad too late that we missed a lot of the snacks and delicacies – I had Zuurkoolstamp met rookworst for dinner. It wasn’t bad but Dutch food was surely one of the main reasons why the Dutch decided to colonialise Indonesia in their quest to find better food! 😀 ). We concluded the day with a visit to the Chocolate Tree café in North Adelaide – she then helped to pluck my silver hair. At the end she harvested around 45 strands of silver hair – not too bad for a “25-year-old guy”. 😉