Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Age and "The Acid Test"

Interlude--Poem: "The Acid Test"

As I approach my thirty birthday-24 days and counting-the relative nature of age and how this relativity is continually being reinvented continue to amaze me. My parents will both turn 60 soon after I turn thirty, creating a neat sense of order for a numbers nerd like me. They will, upon turning 60, have exactly double the years of their son, exactly double the life experience. (Yes, I know-we'd all have to have the same birthday to make my previous statements literally true.) There is something awe-inspiring and comforting in the fact that they have been through two days to my every one.

The big 6-0, however, should not be as daunting for them as it will be for others (me, for example), because they are not old now, nor will they be on the dates they turn 60, nor will they be at age 85. Why, because they were born on the good side of 1950.

In my young mind, my parents were the Alpha and Omega, the foundation, the centerpiece. If a friend had a parent born before this arbitrary marker of 1950, this parent was Old. The opposite was of course true for a parent born after 1950--The Fountain of Youth was theirs.

Enjoy: "The Acid Test" by Jaime Flaco

What does a child know about BC, AD,

Nothing, except

What better compliment than to base years,
centuries, epochs—
your life measurement—on one man,

When you are young and feel but cannot verbalize
His love for you, yours for Him,
you do these things--

You do this for your parents:
born before this cut-off,
this objectively subjective year, and you were
old, getting older.

Born after, and you were young,
Aging, maybe, but never aged.

Mom and Dad,
you were the acid test, the marker,
the wind-blown flag on the 18th green.

You were the Right and the Wrong.
The Alpha and the

And maybe this is what it is like,
Maybe just so small of a fraction that it is
like an ant among the massive mass of ants of the world—
but it is love,
your love,
a love like the ant compared to the love our Father (Anno Domini)
has for us.

“Every hair on your head I have counted,” He says,
and you remember when Mom told you (your first human memory?)
that you must have a beautiful soul, because it is said that the eyes are the window
to the soul.

This soul fashioned by the Lord, but perhaps shaded in by one’s parents—
What are we to think of it?
Maybe, just maybe, only this: You have never outgrown,
will never,
outgrow the idea that your parents are perfect.

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