“Deep inside this wrecked and ravaged hull there sails a young man still!”
Fredrick Buechner, Godric
A friend of mine was playing with his son one afternoon, and, lying flat on his back on the floor, pretended to fall asleep. The child climbed on his chest, leaned over his face and pried open one of his eyelids. “Hey, Dad,” he shouted. “Quit fooling around. I know you’re in there!”
The child understood something it took me more than seventy years to learn: I am not my body; I am merely “in there.”
The Bible makes it clear that we have bodies, but we not our bodies. We are our souls. (Genesis 2:7). The real “me,” the part that defines me and has eternal existence, is something other than my body. My body is mine, but it is not me (or I, as my old grammar teacher would insist.)
In the same sense, I have a vehicle, a fifteen–year–old GMC truck. It doesn’t go well these days—not as well as it used to go—and it takes a good deal of maintenance to make it go at all. I’m fond of the old truck; it takes where I’m going; and it is mine. But I would never confuse it with me.
The implications of this insight are enormous: I am not my failing eyesight, my aching knees, my stumbling gait, my quavering voice. These are attributes of the body I presently have that is growing older and older, faster and faster. (Thank God, I shall soon have a better one.) In the meantime, I am not growing old at all, for I am ageless and eternal. By faith, I have become a child of God. “And how, of all children, can the children of God grow old?” (George MacDonald).