May 16, 2021
Joe and I didn’t date. We courted.
Joe didn’t wear jeans or shorts. He wore dungarees and short pants or short britches.
Joe didn’t go to the beach. He went down to the coast.
Joe wore denim overalls to work, and he listened to Willie’s Roadhouse (Monday-Saturday) and the Pinecone Bluegrass Show (EVERY Sunday evening at the barn).
He was old timey. I picked on him about it, but I secretly loved it…I loved it A LOT.
This week, Joe’s lesson is about the ways of old times and today, and how Jesus is the thread weaving all of it together.
The Good Old Days
We talk all the time about how the world has lost touch with God and morality. It is mighty easy for us compare what’s going on in the world today with “the good old days”. We talk about this generation that is growing up today and what they need to do.
Luke 9:41 states: “O fathers and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you and suffer you?”
Now, don’t get me wrong—the world today is in trouble, and I think that the generation that is coming of age has plenty of problems, including falling away from the church. But every generation has sinned, right?
I recently found this quote. Listen to it and decide if it applies to today.
“ The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders…Children are tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter in front of company, gobble up food at the table and tyrannize their teachers.”
Now, I have heard folks say these same things about children today. However, this quote is attributed to Socrates, sometime around 400 BC. So, I guess you could say it is nothing new. Our sinful nature has followed us through thousands of years, and our sin continues to manifest itself in lots of ways, from the darkest of sinful actions to the lack of basic manners and courtesy. Jesus himself was weary of those sins in his own time according to this morning’s scripture.
But He didn’t give up. He continued to heal the sick and preach. We don’t have to go back to the good old days to be saved–Jesus is the one who saves. Think about this—God has boundless mercy, because he could certainly by justified in staying angry forever after the good old days of Eden went wrong.
So, is the world today better off than it was yesterday? And if it is, does it really matter? God’s patience for this “perverse generation” shows how deeply He loves us and has loved us all, from one generation to the next. As forgiven Christians, that is truly something to celebrate.
I have a love/hate relationship with the Timehop app. If you are not familiar, it is an app that collects your memories (pictures, videos, status updates, etc) from all of your social media sources and puts them together in one place, so you can see what you posted one year ago, ten years ago, etc. I love seeing old pictures, laughing, reminiscing, etc., but admittedly, seeing them since Joe passed away is sometimes just a little bittersweet. When I look at pictures of my children and think to myself, “Goodness, those were the good old days,” I am nostalgic for those times, but also excited to watch them grow into adults and build families of their own.
However, as much as I love to see pictures of Joe, I can’t help but feel a twinge in my heart, knowing that those memories of the good old days with him are the only ones I’ll ever know this side of Heaven. And, that makes me sad. We had good days…we had so many really, really good days!
For example, just this week, these memories popped up in my Timehop:
Were these the good old days? Yep. Did I realize it at the time? Nope. I surely did not.
When I really stop to think about those days, my mind is able to slip off its pair of rose colored glasses just a bit. In the first photo, I was a single mama, a principal of a school with two campuses, commuting almost an hour one way, and generally hanging by a thread. Joe and I hitched up his beautiful horse and wagon to participate in Old Timey Days in Seven Springs. It was a good day in the middle of a tough period in my life.
In the second photo, we had moved the Grand New Opry fundraiser to a little later in the spring. I was working full time, getting my masters degree online, and right smack dab in the middle of end of year testing at school. Joe was working two jobs as well, leaving home before the sun rose and getting home well after dark most nights. Honestly, the time period leading up to this event was quite stressful. Our tempers were short and our patience was thin. Yet, this was also a good day in the midst of a trying time.
Joe was, indeed, old timey. I think he looked back on eras gone by as the good old days because he saw those times as slower paced and simple. Joe thought those were happier times in general. But, here’s something I’ve figured out in the months since his passing. Our minds have a way of scraping the rough edges off of memories. We look back and remember the good parts. The not so pleasant parts are tucked in a back pocket, making them less likely to surface.
And…that is a blessing.
Joe said, “Jesus himself was weary of those sins in his own time according to this morning’s scripture. But He didn’t give up. He continued to heal the sick and preach.” Jesus had probably HAD A BAIT of our earthly mess. Maybe like a teacher on a full moon Friday afternoon in the spring when even the good children have turned bad, and what you really want to do is walk right out the door….(I may or may not have contemplated the consequences of such decision). Thank goodness, Jesus didn’t throw His hands up in the air and say, “You know what, Dad?? I QUIT.” He pressed on toward the end goal, doing good for sinners just like you and me. He gave us good days, even when His days were bad.
I imagine that the people who lived to see Jesus heal the sick might look back on those days when they were able to physically see Him and say, “Those were the good old days.” And even though they knew Jesus was in Heaven, maybe they, too, felt a twinge because they simply missed His presence here on Earth. I get it. I really do.
But the truth about the good old days is that we are living them right now.
Read that again.
That was a difficult sentence to write and a more difficult pill to swallow, but it’s true. Even if this is a season of pain for you, even if your life has been turned completely upside down, there is good. You might not see it now. But one day, you’ll look back. You’ll see the picture or hear the song and you will smile at the memory and think, “Those were good days.” And you’ll be correct.
Jesus made good days out of trying times–not just once, but over and over, through thousands of years. And, sweet friend, He is not finished…not just yet.
God is planting seeds of goodness in this day. He did it yesterday and He will do it again tomorrow. Despite His exasperation, despite our recurring record of sinful natures, God’s mercies are new every single morning. Where there is God, there is good.
I believe He plants those seeds and tends to them tenderly as a gift to us. He plants a garden of memories called “The Good Old Days” as a bridge we get to travel in order to hold us, to get us through until we reach The Other Side.
When we reach The Other Side, I’ll be on the lookout for a blue eyed boy who used to court me, both on the path and down at the coast. He will either be wearing dusty dungarees or short britches and possibly a halo. 😇
They will be the Good New Days.
Those days, my friend…those days will be the best days yet. ❤️
-Words of Wisdom from The Book of Joe