I had a birthday this year. I’m not letting on, but it was a big one. One with a zero. Hitting those milestones in life seems to make you want to pause for a moment and consider where you’ve come from. It’s a time to look back on life.
Sometimes when we look back there are regrets and disappointments. But I reckon there’s real value in looking back and asking the question, what have been the building blocks in my life.
A new generation of children have been inspired by Lego building blocks with the release early this year of the Lego movie. But surprising as it may seem Lego blocks have been around since 1949. There’s not too many of us who haven’t played with lego blocks at some stage.
When you play with lego blocks you know that as they clip into each other the strength of what you’re building increases. Just putting them side by side isn’t much value. But clipping them together produces something that is creative and strong.
As you look back on your life what sort of building blocks have you contributed and how have they clipped together? Relationships are the key building blocks and it’s good to look back and see how you have contributed to the life of someone else, and perhaps helped to establish new relationships.
We’ve all made mistakes in the past, but instead of looking back with regret think about the building blocks that you have contributed to in the past. And give thanks for those people who you have known and the relationships shared.
But don’t stop there. No matter how old you are, there’s still time to put new building blocks together. Here are some people who I’ve heard about who began putting building blocks together late in life. The Earl of Halsburg was 90 when he began preparing a 20-volume revision of English Law. Galileo made his greatest discovery when he was 73. At 69 Hudson Taylor was still vigorously at work as a missionary opening up new territories in IndoChina.
In our youth the building blocks that are important to us are those that help us to grow as individuals. We establish families and careers, we learn new skills, and we travel and explore and add to our knowledge and wisdom.
But late in life it’s possible that people will say, oh I’m too old. There’s not much that I can do now. I’d like to encourage those who are older to think about how they can build into the lives of others and particularly children and young people.
As you share your experiences and wisdom you’re making a contribution to the building blocks of those with whom you have shared.
Getting older can be challenging, but it’s also an opportunity to ask how you can contribute to the lives of others. God wouldn’t have allowed you to stay on this earth if he didn’t have something worthwhile for you to accomplish.
Find it and start building.