07
Jun
22

My Twilight Confessions

I am an early bird.

Always have been. Probably always will be. 

Of course, since retiring from my paying job in July 2019, the word “early” has been redefined somewhat. I no longer have to worry about getting to the gym and back, showering, shaving, devotioning, breakfasting, and commuting somewhere by a certain, set time. 

Nevertheless, the morning remains my favorite daypart. That is when my energy, optimism, and creativity seem to be at their peak(s). It is when I do my best writing, walking, planning, praying, and yard working.

Anything worth doing, I say to myself, is worth doing early. As a result of this orientation, my working faculties all start winding down starting at around noon (1:30 at the latest), as I prepare to hibernate for the night. 

For as long as I can remember, this has been my body’s rhythm. “Early bird” also describes many, many other parts of my life. It is the way I watch movies. It is the way I read books. It is the way I adopt new trends. It is the way I worship.  

So, what happens, I wondered the other day, when Joe Early Bird wakes up one day to discover he has entered a phase of life that can no longer accurately be called “early.” In fact, by many units of measure, I recently realized, my life phase could be described as “late twilight,” or even “deep, dark night.”

So what’s a confirmed early bird to do?

And with that question comes another: Can “late” come to be just as meaningful as “early”? Are there blessings hidden somewhere in those advanced parts of the day (or life) just waiting to be unearthed? 

Is it possible to rejoice just as much over the setting sun as its rising twin?

In the Old Testament, The Teacher offers these good words to live by: “In the morning sow your seed, and at evening do not let your hands be idle, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” (Ecclesiastes 11:6, NRSVU). 

I suppose I could take this as literal agricultural instruction and say, “Hey, Teacher. Thanks for that! Good call,” and go tend to my tomatoes accordingly. 

Or maybe I could hear it as the metaphor it was no doubt intended to be. Maybe I could choose to hear it as a divinely inspired word telling me that no matter what stage of life I attain, my life’s task is still not completed. Maybe this unknown Bible guy (or gal) is saying that as long as I live, there will still be a measure of uncertainty about what sort of “crop” my life efforts will yield. 

I don’t know. Somehow, I find that advice kind of depressing. I was really hoping I might get to a point in life where I could hit the “Cruise Control” button and just coast blissfully into the Big Dirt Nap. I mean, my two sons – ages 45 and 42 – have turned out to be great sons, great parents, and great human beings. Their kids (eight between them) are fantastic beyond my wildest hopes and dreams. Joan and I are secure and comfortable, and (for now, at least) in good health.

Isn’t that a pretty good “crop”?

Some might say so. But then here comes the voice of Jesus’ brother, James, throwing a big bucket of cold water on my complacency by saying, “Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14, NRSVU). 

Thanks a bunch, James. Really appreciate that.

**Sigh** 

Back to the grindstone, I guess.

Abundant blessings;


4 Responses to “My Twilight Confessions”


  1. June 7, 2022 at 5:57 pm

    Russel, I think we’re at about the same stage in life, and a couple of things occurred to me:
    1. As a woman, I’m thinking of the Proverbs 31 woman, “whose lamp does not go out at night,” and I think about things the Lord has whispered to me in the wee hours of the morning. (Much of my first book was written between the hours of 2:30 and 4:00 AM during my “insomnia years.”) Also, a woman I identify with, if only because of her name – Anna of the tribe of Asher (Luke 2:36) – found the highpoint of her life – seeing the Messiah and being one of the first evangelists – when she was at least in her 80’s.
    2. As for you, consider how old Moses was when his ministry STARTED – about 80, some think. So, our best years could be ahead of us, and considering God’s promise to those of us who are faithful – the VERY best is yet to come. 🙂
    Blessings,
    Annie Aschauer

    • June 7, 2022 at 6:24 pm

      Thank you so much for those comforting words, Annie. I think I shared with you that I don’t feel as if I have gotten the hang of this retirement thing yet. Maybe it’s because I am thinking of the world’s picture of retirement and realizing I will NEVER enjoy the game of golf! I think you are right. God has more in store for us and the best is indeed yet to come.

  2. June 8, 2022 at 7:02 am

    a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes

    Pretty much sums me up.

  3. June 15, 2022 at 2:34 am

    I am trying so hard to be an early bird, but it’s a challenge. And not having that alarm clock in the back of your mind is a beautiful feeling.


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