“My, how things have changed.”
Old people say that I. Am. Old.
I am replacing a 32-year-old air conditioning unit. You read that right. A 32-year-old air-conditioning unit, installed in 1986 and still working. It’s had its share of repairs over the years, but all in all, it has been a durable unit.
I also have a refrigerator that is around 80-90 years old. It’s a little under five feet tall and has a tiny freezer component that I have to defrost every six months or so. It has never stopped running, nor have I had it repaired in the 30-plus years I have owned it. My great aunt passed it down to my parents, and my mother later passed it down to me. Since Mom had stored it for a number of years, I was hesitant to plug it in. I called a dealer and asked his advice.
“Plug it in,” he said.
It started humming again in the mid-80s and hasn’t stopped since. It’s a great little piece of history for storing soft drinks and water, and it’s a great conversation starter. Now it and other vintage refrigerators are making a comeback – trendy, they call them, and expensive. Mine is not trendy. It’s simply long-lasting.
Long-lasting is a vintage term. Very little is manufactured today to be long-lasting. I learned this about air-conditioning units, and I have learned it as well about appliances. Typical estimates for the life of an air-conditioning unit do not usually exceed 20 years, with many of them giving up the ghost five to 10 years earlier.
Appliances’ life expectancies have also declined. Refrigerators – an average of 14 years. Washers – 12 years. Dryers – 14 years. Dishwashers – 12 years.
“My, how things have changed.”
While I am “old,” I need to evaluate my expectation that my appliances will also get “old” sooner than they would have a generation ago. Not much is built these days to emulate the Energizer bunny.
It begs the question: “What does last?” In a time when human decency and dignity seem to be vanishing, a time when name-calling supersedes respect and value, a time when an “it is my opinion and it is true” attitude prevails, I worry that the descent into the gutter will, at its worst, create a reckless and self-centered culture unable to embrace the democratic values this nation has demonstrated during its history.
The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Philippian church, writes: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8, KJV).
Truth. Honesty. Justice. Purity. Loveliness. Good Report. Virtuous. Praiseworthy.
The believer in Christ, through Paul’s admonition, is called to “think on these things,” to embrace them in the heart and mind and to live them out with intent and action. “These things” are the lasting things that we need in a culture run amok with self-importance and dim-witted excuses for failures to uphold them.
I must yield to the changing nature of modern day conveniences, but I refuse to discount the lasting values that sustain lives of character and honor. I am called by faith to a life better than what I am seeing in our culture. I am called to be revolutionary. How odd is it that the “old fashioned” values Paul purports are deemed revolutionary? Take a look around this nation and this world, and I believe you will find your answer.