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Never Too Early, Never Too Late

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Never Too Early, Never Too Late

Post  Admin on Fri 18 Dec 2009, 4:14 pm

Never Too Early, Never Too Late

By Dr. Michael A. Halleen

"Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years" (Genesis 18:11). "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young" (1 Timothy 4:12).

Age isn't related to important achievements. Maturity, yes. Attitude, absolutely. Skill and intelligence, of course. But not age. Benjamin Franklin, already a successful publisher, inventor, diplomat and signer of the Declaration of Independence, led the convention that drafted the Constitution of the United States. He was eighty-four. A few years earlier, about the time Franklin was signing the Declaration, Mozart was living in Salzburg, having just completed all five of his violin concertos, each one a masterpiece. He was twenty. Age had no bearing on that summer of significant moments.

Some time ago I interviewed a young man seeking a job. At nineteen he lacked spirit, the fire within--if there had ever been one--just an ember. The same day I spoke to a new friend, age eighty-seven, whose voice was alive, eyes shining, energy directed toward what was next. Age is irrelevant. Attitude is everything. Trying, not giving up, caring enough to use the resources we've been given--these are the things that matter.

So William Gladstone at eighty-five was prime minister of England and the world's leading statesman. At seventeen Elizabeth Barrett (Browning) published a volume of serious poetry. Galileo was dictating records of his latest discoveries about the rotation of planets (and hiding them in his mattress in order to avoid punishment as a heretic) when he was seventy-eight. Michelangelo began painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in his early thirties. Insight, determination and genius are not limited by age.

Martin Luther was thirty-four when he walked to the door of the castle church in Wittenburg, Germany and posted there the ideas for change he wanted to debate with Church leaders. Abraham, founder of the Hebrew nation at the age of one hundred, might have smiled at how one so young could do something so important while Timothy, at twenty-six the leader of one of the largest Christian churches of the first century, might have wondered what had taken Martin so long.

Beethoven had composed a prodigious quantity of music by the time of his death at fifty-six, while Grandma Moses, the famous 20th century folk artist, didn't take up painting until she was seventy-five. Golf prodigy Michelle Wie turned professional at fifteen, the same summer as my father-in-law, age ninety, made his first hole-in-one.

We're not too young to do something significant. And we're never too old.

Copyright 2009 Dr. Michael A. Halleen. Permission is granted to send this to others, with attribution, but not for commercial purposes.

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