“Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in his hand
Who saith “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half, trust God, see all, nor be afraid.”
I’ve often heard, “old age is not for sissies!” It takes courage to put up with limitations, with aches and pains, to deal with losses. But if we stop there, we haven’t taken into account the whole picture. Proverbs 20:29 tells us that “The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.” We’ve earned our gray hairs, learned many things along the way through our own experiences and by listening to and watching the life lessons of others. We’ve learned to stop and appreciate the small joys, to celebrate whenever we can, to stop holding others to our expectations. There’s happiness in seeing the new generations that will follow us and in sharing our lives with them. As we leave the labour force, we now encounter the children we taught in Sunday school at places like the dentist’s office or the library. When I jokingly accused them of taking over the world, the response was: “For now!”
When I was a young woman in my thirties, I cleaned house for an elderly couple. Their little black pug would sometimes be nose-to-nose with me as I washed the floor. His owner said that “the dog hadn’t seen anything move that fast all week!” You discover that hurry is usually counter-productive anyway, that you notice far more when you slow down.
As I watched my parents age, there were tough times that they encountered just because they had lived well into their 80s and beyond, and depression could certainly be part of the picture. But my father learned to navigate the computer (admittedly with a lot of help!), went around to restaurants for used french-fry oil so that he and a friend could refine their own fuel, set up a small storage business, bought and drove around a “Li’l Red Truck” just for the fun of it, convinced volunteers to set up a community garden on his farm. It seems to me that, even if you’re older, you can still stretch the limits and be willing to try new things.
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4 Because we have the confidence that we are really never alone, that we have an eternal future with this loving God, we are free to take risks and to live full lives at any stage.