The Youth In My Family Now Have The Edge

The youth are taking over – at least it’s true in my family. Every year when my family gets together for Christmas we rent some ice and have a game of hockey.

We’ve been doing it for a long time now. When we started, I didn’t have to play very hard to show up the young guys.

It’s different now; each year my son and the nephews have gotten bigger, faster, stronger.

I still look forward to our little get-together but it takes a lot more out of me to keep up with them.

I guess that’s why there is so much focus on youth. They have all the potential; they are so agile; they have such great skill.

I see it in junior hockey, and especially in the annual world junior hockey tournament that’s about to start. It showcases the best young hockey talent in the world and everyone is playing for their country.

The speed at which these kids skate, and the moves they make – with and without the puck – is incredible.

That is why even the NHL is on a youth movement right now. To play in the NHL these days you have to be able to keep up with, or be better than, the 19 and 20 year olds.

Hockey highlight programs on TV show replay footage of teenagers in the NHL making incredible plays almost every night.

The youth really are taking over.

On the downside, the old guys like me are losing ground each year. We are not as fast as we once were; our hands are not what they once were.

Maybe more than all that is we don’t have the stamina or the energy we once had. I get winded quickly. I give a second thought to back-checking when the other team steals the puck.

In the friendly game we had this Christmas, I found it harder to keep the puck on my stick. Even the youngest of nephews was able to check the puck off me. I’d make a rush up the ice and that was about it for the next couple of minutes.

I remember when I was younger I could play all day and never tire. I hated having to go to the bench. I only went to give others a chance to play; I sure didn’t need the rest!

Now I take short shifts and actually enjoy my time when I’m on the bench, catching my breath. … Although with my past heart issues, I will often pace behind the bench to bring my heart rate down slowly.

Don’t get me wrong, I can still keep up, but they are starting to take over. There’s more of them and they are more dominant now.

I guess I should be sad to see the changing of the guard, knowing that it’s time to step aside for the youth movement in our family.

But you know, you also can’t help but see yourself in family. When I see my son or one of my nephews skate up the ice, I only have pride.

Here’s the thing: The more we start to age, the more we notice how the youth are taking over. But when it comes to spiritual things, we should allow the ancient one, the God of Abraham and Isaac to take over. That is the one area where youth don’t run the show. Let Christ take over your life. Here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: What needs to move over in your life? Leave your comments below.

Playing Hockey With The Old Man

The old man showed up yesterday on the ice … and the old man was me!

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It’s been a slow start back to playing hockey regularly.

The first time I played this fall I felt pretty good. I had some speed, hands weren’t too bad, scored a few goals. Things were looking promising.

I had worried that after turning 60 in June I somehow wouldn’t be able to skate any more or pass or shoot.

But from my first outing, things seemed just like they were when I left the ice in the spring.

Now I’m about a month into playing again and yesterday there was a shortage of players for shinny. We had to play four aside with only one sub.

Let me tell you, I needed that sub!

I think I was coming off the ice twice as much as the other guys on my team … and it wasn’t because I was trying to be courteous.

I needed to come off; I was dying!

With only four guys on the ice, there is so much more ice to skate and it was wearing me out. Mostly my legs were in a lot of pain.

It felt like I had shin splints after about 30 seconds into a shift – sharp pains in my shins that traveled up to my thighs as well.

All I needed was about a minute on the bench and my legs returned to normal, but it sure made it tough to skate when I was out there.

It didn’t help that I had the three oldest guys playing on my team. In fact, we may have had the four oldest.

The young guys on the other team didn’t seem to want to take it easy on us either. They checked us close and made us really work to get the puck out of our end.

I felt like an old man, not able to skate like I once could, having to take rests more frequently than the others.

It was pretty discouraging.

I know I could still skate well if I didn’t have the pain, and I know I could have more stamina if I was in a little better shape.

The pain in my legs has been happening since I had a heart attack over four years ago. But it has gotten a little worse.

I’ve tried loosening my equipment, and drinking insane amounts of water, but the pain doesn’t seem to be a circulation or an electrolyte problem.

I think it’s coming down to either my medication messing with my muscles, too much sugar in my system, or my heart not working at the capacity it needs to to enable my legs to work properly.

… I really don’t want it to be the latter reason. So my next step is to work on my sugar intake. For the next while I’m going to cut all deliberate, unnecessary, gratuitous sugar from my diet.

Let’s see how that goes and how it effects my muscles. I’ll check back on this later.

Here’s the thing: When you face something that doesn’t seem right, always question it, seek to discover possible reasons for it, and try potential solutions to solve it. The best environment for this is in consultation with God. Meet with and ask God for help as you question, discover and try to get past what you’re facing.

That’s Life,

Paul

Question: What difficulty have you faced and just accepted, rather than trying to solve? Leave your comments below.

How Shovelling Snow Is Good For You

The opening line from a 1970 song by Led Zeppelin goes, “We come from the land of the ice and snow”. They wrote that song after a concert in Reykjavik, Iceland, but they could have written it if they had played in Kingston a week ago!

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It’s not that ice and snow are unfamiliar to us here in Eastern Ontario, it’s the amount of time I’ve spent in the last three days breaking up ice and snow from my driveway and sidewalk.

I’ve done the excavation work and we have several layers that have been discovered below the surface that we are driving on. I haven’t uncovered any fossils or dinosaur bones yet, but I still have more to unearth as I seek to reach the pavement.

Most people just have one property they need to consider when removing the snow and ice, but I have two. Sunday morning I spent over an hour and a half before our service breaking up the ice and snow on the walkway at church.

That’s the glamorous part of being a pastor! Thankfully, I was saved from total exhaustion by my associate, and a few other congregants who came to my assistance.

Then, after church, during what is normally my “NFL nap time”, I continued to work like an archeologist on my driveway for an hour or so.

Things were melting, which made my work a little easier, but also urgent because the cold weather was coming back and I really needed to make headway before everything froze up again.

At one point, my neighbour drove home and stopped in front of our house for a moment and just pointed to his place. I said to him, “I’ll get on it right away.” Then he parked his vehicle and yelled over to me, “That’ll give you a heart attack!”

I didn’t really need the reminder that I’ve already had one of those, but it did get me thinking that I better not overdue it. Hospitals see a higher volume of heart attacks after a snowfall. It’s all that heavy pushing and lifting, and then immediately afterwards lying on a couch for a rest, that’s hard on your heart.

Normally, I get to the end of January before I’m sick of the snow, but I think I’m pretty much sick of it now. When is spring, anyway? We’ve passed the shortest day of the year, the sunlight will be with us longer and longer now. If only the clouds would leave us.

In Led Zeppelin’s song, they sing, “Our only goal will be the western shore”, but for me, at this moment in time, a southern destination is the only thing on my mind.

Enough of this digging up ice and snow, enough looking for buried treasure (asphalt and cement). What I really need is a beach somewhere, where the only thing I’m digging is my feet into the sand at the water’s edge!

Here’s the thing: Often when we find ourselves in the midst of something that is difficult, and maybe unpleasant, we seek some kind of relief from it. We want to escape from the difficulty into something pleasant, something enjoyable. Instead of seeking escape, seek God to help you through the difficulty you find yourself in. You will learn more from God by going through something than escaping from it.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: What do you find difficult and unpleasant that you would like to escape from?  Leave your comment below.