It is perhaps most evident in athletes. They hang around just a little too long. The outfielder who can no longer get to the ball in time, the skater who goes down way too often, and the boxer who just goes down. We watch them and we wince.

But it’s not just in sports. It happens anywhere someone is getting older.

I recall attending a funeral presided over by a retired pastor who should have retired from doing funerals. He started out all right and I thought maybe he still had the stuff. But when he made his third point his second point, his whole message became pointless. I winced.

In May 1957, Ms. Bice Crighton-Miller, wrote to C. S. Lewis asking if he would speak at a service she was putting on at the Sherborne School for Girls, Sherborne, Dorset. Lewis was flattered by the invitation but declined,

“I am afraid my preaching days are past. I did a lot—too much—of that sort of thing for several years and now I find I can’t. This happens to many public speakers: we don’t all stop speaking when it does . . . Tell the young ladies they shd. be very grateful to me for not coming. To sit listening to the creak of the pump-handle is not exhilarating.”1

I don’t know who said it first. It’s been attributed to P.T. Barnum, Walt Disney, and even Gypsie Rosé Lee, but it is wise counsel in any vocation, “Always leave them wanting more.”

“I have been young, and now am old” – Psalm 37:25.

1. Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, Vol. III (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), 851-852. Italics in original.

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Thank you for visiting. This blog is the result of a lifetime of reading C. S. Lewis and a desire to sit down opposite him over a cup of tea seeking his advice. His responses are based on his letters and books.

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