Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israsel, or seek help from the Lord. (Isaiah 31:1)
I haven’t put in a call to Egypt lately or enlarged my garage to fit a chariot, but I can still relate to this Isaiah verse. In the search for security, all of us run toward our perceived protection. The less secure we feel, the faster we run and the tighter we cling. Like a two-year-old with a blankie, letting go just doesn’t seem to be an option.
Craig didn’t like getting older. It messed with the mental picture he had of himself as perpetually in his early twenties. That was when he felt the most vital, the most alive, the most in control of his world. He could hit a drive like Phil and a jump shot like Kobe. He’d been single in his early twenties, without family obligations and responsibilities like he had now. Craig wanted to stay suspended in that moment in time, even though the earth kept revolving underneath him and time marched on.
He joined a variety of gyms over the years and used all of them to tell himself he’d get fit soon.
He kept buying costly golf clubs, sure that the next expensive innovation with the titanium shaft and computer-designed “sweet spot” was just the one to do the trick and give him back his edge.
Craig bought a low-slung, high-octane sports car that he took out of the garage whenever the sun was out and his wife was gone.
Always on the lookout for the next big financial deal, he lost track of the money he’d “invested” over the years, so sure the next one would prove once and for all his business acumen. W
henever he had the opportunity and — according to his wife — sometimes when he didn’t, he chose to dress like someone 15 years younger. He knew the places to shop where the latest urban styles were “upsized” to fit more mature physiques.
His friends were of two different sets: a younger group of men, generally golfing or basketball buddies, who made him feel as though he had shed years if not pounds — and an older set, generally business acquaintances, whose greater age always cemented his status as Craig the Younger.
Craig had few friends or even significant acquaintances his own age. He didn’t really feel comfortable with men his own age. Instead, he liked younger men because that’s how he saw himself, and older men because they always seemed to have something to offer.
Craig made sure he had all the latest gadgets so popular with the younger set. If he heard about something one week, he made sure to buy it the next. This caused his wife to roll her eyes and bemoan one more “whatever,” but Craig figured that it was his money and that he had a right to spend it on whatever he wanted.
What he really wanted was to be considered relevant and young. If spending a few hundred dollars, or often more, could achieve that feeling, well, it was a bargain. The younger guys were jealous of what he could buy because they knew what it was, and the older guys were impressed because they didn’t. Either way, it put Craig in the driver’s seat, just like he was twentysomething all over again.