18

My youth and my age are turned on their heads in me.

There’s a young man in me – not the type with a slackened jaw and wide eyes at the world, who listens, and reaches, and aches for every feeling and sight – but the kind you hear in the other aisles at the grocery store, whining for things in a tone many years too childish for his evident age. He is dirty, not because because he has been discovering things, but because he does not like to be clean. He is loud, not singing, but because he does not like to listen. He squints at you, not because he wants to see you any better, but because he has already decided you’re probably the type he doesn’t like. (He’d turn up his nose at you if he were any taller.)

I’m trying to shake him off.

There’s an old man in me, also, and he wants to sit down – not because he is tired, but because he just doesn’t care to exert himself. (Thus, his limbs grow weak from inaction, rather than the alternative.) He is quiet in conversation, not for humility, but for apathy instead; and besides, he’s above conversation with most folks (or thinks so, at least). He does not care if you hear his muttered critiques. They won’t do you any good, anyways. He pauses his grumbling to chuckle when you fall. He has read more books than you have (or at least better ones), he speaks more convincingly than you (or would, if he deigned), and he’s an influential(/persistent) voice in whatever community he graces.

I’m wrestling with him.

I’m sorry if these are the voices I let speak: the whiner and the grumbler. They are the louder voices in my ears, and I’ve a bad habit of parroting their mantras.

I’m praying for the youth and age the Father asks of me: that which stares, listens, feels, and wants to sing at what it sees; that which discerns, and is calm, and wise, and acts righteously for its wisdom.

Please be patient with me when I fail. Part of me is only human.

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