Estimated reading time: 5 minute(s)
These days most of my music making happens whenever the youngest pay me a visit in my office. My guitar is out on its stand, ready for any action it might be required to perform. Most times it just sits there—looking great—but on occasion it will get a little exercise.
Something I have been noticing recently when I pick up my guitar to play a song for my eager visitors (or even for myself every now and again) is that my feel is different. The way I communicate through the sounds and rhythms of the instrument feels different. At least it does to me.
Then today I think I finally had words for this different feeling: aged.
Not aged as in “old” or, “over the hill”. (I’m not yet forty… isn’t that the crest of the hill?) It’s more of a sense of all the life I’ve experienced being added to these songs, both familiar and brand new. An abiding depth that was not there before seems to inhabit the words, and even the way that I phrase and sing them. At least to my ears there is a noticeable difference.
I think this is how it’s meant to be.
I’m still a young pup. Yes, I know that I have a son who is fourteen (and a half) … and I know that I have been married for fifteen (working on sixteen) years to my beautiful wife … and I know that I’m remembering events in my life—significant events to me—that I am now three decades removed from …
But I’m also considerably younger than the Buffalo Bills’ coaching and front office staff, who are supposedly ridiculously young. I’m younger by half a dozen years than the youngest man ever to assume the office of President of our United States. I’m not even a grandpa yet!
Age, as far as years is certainly relative.
But with those years come experiences. Events of our own doing, caused by our own actions and inactions, as well as events that happen to us. The only constant through them all is that Jesus is with us. And as life happens all around us, no matter how I or the rest of the world sees it… it happens. It often feels like an immovable, unchangeable force, but through it all, he is with me. So each step of the way, I learn more of who he is, and how he sees me; and so I learn more of who I really am. I become more of who I really am.
That’s the journey. That’s the aging process. There’s no predicable timetable. We all ripen at a different pace. Somehow the Master Gardener knows the perfect pace for each of us, and he’s even patient enough to wait for us (I think) when we slow down the pace—even by our own rushing ahead.
However it happens… we do age.
I thought of the word “vintage” today, until a bit of research led me to a better understanding of that term. We use it to refer to “older” things, particularly wine. But it really means that the grapes were all harvested in a certain year. So, a bottle of wine with a certain percentage (varies per country) of grapes from the year 2013 would be a “2013 vintage”.
So I landed on another word: Seasoned.
This is perfect. Seasoned. First, it brings up the images of well-seasoned food. Herbs and spices add flavor to most anything, and the right combinations also bring out the natural flavors. I love to season food. I like spicy food, yes, but I love seasoned, flavorful food. Muy sabroso!
Then there are the seasons. Seasons of life. I’ve mentioned this here before, how the seasons of life are so important. As is understanding that they are seasons, and not permanent. Good or bad.
To think of our lives as becoming “seasoned” over the years seems just about right. Not only are we slowly being flavored by the Master Chef—umm… not that he’s planning to eat us, or anything… just working on his masterpiece—we are being shaped and “seasoned” by all of the various events—seasons—of our lives.
And we are different. Changed. Seasoned.
Not every season is enjoyable. But as long as we’re here, being seasoned… it happened. It is part of your story. Your seasoning.
I can think of many of the events that have seasoned me since I was a full-time, traveling musician. I remember the events of the years before that, and during that time, when I was writing the songs that we sang. I know what went into those songs then … and I know why they sound different now. But I would guess that there is even more that I’m not fully aware of.
I’m not the chef. I don’t know all that’s being added to this masterpiece.
And I don’t need to.
I just get to enjoy the seasoning, and see evidences of it in how I see things, and the things I say, and how I sing my songs.
I don’t know for sure that it’s better… that’s for someone else to decide. To me it sounds and feels “better”, but not just in a performance metric sort of way. It feels more seasoned. It really does!
And without a doubt, I’m convinced that seasoned, is better.
So at age thirty-eight, I think I’m noticing that I’m becoming more well-seasoned. And I’ve only just begun? Imagine if God and life continue to season me for another four or five decades… or more?
Wow, am I gonna taste good!
Life is a long process. The process is seasoning you to perfection.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.—Eph 2:10
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.—Phil 1:6