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Aaron Johnson: Fourth quarter in the game of life

The Super Bowl is in a matter of days.

Leading up to that final game, every game was more important than any of the previous games of the year. To lose a playoff game is to end the entire season. When you lose, you go home. If you win, you take one more step toward the Super Bowl and you play yet another game.

The game is always won in the fourth quarter or, sometimes, in overtime.

If my life was a football game, then I would be living in the fourth quarter. Now I don’t mean to be morbid, but the truth is longevity isn’t on my side. At 62, I have outlived my mother, her father, two uncles and a host of other family members. That puts me somewhere in the last quarter of my life.

If we divide life into quarters, it might look something like this. The first quarter is birth to 20 years old. These are the years we might want to replay sometimes. Most of our mistakes are made in the first quarter of life. As in sports, early mistakes can be outlived and out played later in the game.

The second quarter might be from age 20-40. These years we begin to overcome the mistakes of our first quarter. We find a comfortable rhythm to life and “settle down.” We usually figure out what we are going to be when we grow up during this quarter. We are still growing and learning.

The third quarter is from age 40-60. This quarter we watch our children grow and most of them leave. Some leave and come back. We might even be lucky enough to see the next generation born into our lives. These are good years of income earning and our health is still good. During this quarter I have to say that someone tampered with the game clock.

What happened to the third quarter? It went so fast that I was not prepared for the final quarter!

In my scenario, the fourth quarter begins at 60 and ends at different times for all of us. Heck, some of us are in overtime! But I am happily making my way through the beginning of the fourth quarter.

My health has been reasonably good. Well, as good as it can be after three rounds of cancer, five knee surgeries, blastmycosis in one lung, and four bypasses. Did I mention that longevity was not on my side?

During the first quarter you are concerned about what people think of you. During the second quarter you worry about what people think of you. During the third quarter you don’t care what people are thinking of you. In the final quarter you finally figure it out: nobody was thinking about you in the first place.

I may be in the final quarter, but I’m not through yet! I am still learning. I am still growing. I know more stuff than ever! Don’t bench me just yet.

In the fourth, you have the benefit of hindsight that youth can’t give. Wisdom comes in the fourth quarter of life. Recently, I read that we peak in our fourth quarter mentally, academically.

We gain weight, we slow down, we have more aches and pains, we forget why we came
into the room. But we are still in the game.

Don’t quit life before the final buzzer sounds!

Aaron Johnson is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News and the pastor of Christ Redeemer Church in Guntersville.

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