The Men In Gray

April 2016 276


There are distinct advantages to youthfulness. Your mind is sharp and your body is like a fine tuned 350HP Ford Mustang engine hitting on all cylinders. You seem to be able to leap buildings in a single bound and your energy is at a natural ‘Red Bull’ level. Your enthusiasm and optimism for life is at its highest peak. The future seems unlimited. Yet, there is something you lack that you just don’t get. And you never really get it till you become a “man in gray.”

I’m not sure when it happened because it came ever so slow. Like a thief in the night that came into my home. Not long ago my wife told me that someone described me as, “your husband is the one with the gray hair, right?” We were standing in front of the bathroom mirror getting ready for the day when she told me. I replied, “My hair is not really that gray!” She laughed. As she walked out she smiled and said, “Have you looked in the mirror lately?” I was left alone with myself. And there I stood in front of that huge bathroom mirror. I don’t know why it never really hit me, but, there it was; staring back at me in all its silver glory!

When you become a man in gray you lose most of your youthful attributes. But what you gain is worth much more. You trade those youthful qualities for wisdom, knowledge, sentiment, and experience. Maturity, understanding, and a deeper abiding of love come to a man of gray. Tolerance, patience, and long-suffering come as the days turn to years. How oft have I heard men of gray say, “If only I had known this in my youth!” Aye, if only!

Boyd K. Packer taught, regarding those advancing in years:

“We cannot do what we once did, but we have become more than ever we were before. Life’s lessons, some of them very painful, qualify us to counsel, to correct, and even to warn our youth.” (“The Golden Years”, GC, April 2003)

The scriptures teach: “With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding” (Job 12:12)

Would I trade the wisdom I have gained through time and experience for my youthful looks and drive. The answer is a resounding, “No.”  However, I am in hopes and have a belief that through the power of the glorious resurrection of the Savior that both will be mine in the eternities. Till, then, I remain satisfied that I have become a “man in gray”, with all its blessings and its limitations.


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