- Aging & Longevity
Living through the eyes of the elderly
When I was young, I flirted with life. I played with disaster. I toyed with precepts and dreams. I lusted for play, for fun, for candy and freedom.
When I started high school I ran away from homework. I chased the opposite sex. I fled my responsibilities and shirked hard work. I learned the value of an honest buck and worked nights after school and bought my own clothes, paid for my first car.
When I graduated high school I dove into working full time, lusting after the freedom I remember having as a young child.
I started a family. Worked two jobs. I had good times, bad times, sad times and catastrophic life altering times that left me with scars, deep gouges that never fully healed.
I watched my kids grow up. I helped them the best I could.
Now that I am old, my eyes are dim. My hair is thin. My skin is weak, my teeth are gone. My mind is failing.
Before me I face death, behind me an endless vast legacy of the account of my life choices, my pains, my laughter, my losses and gains. I pass them on to you now.
Now go, take what you have seen from my life, and apply it to your own. Teach your children well. Love with all you have.
Because in the end of a life, all that is left is what you left behind.
- Compassion. Bringing hope to the helpless.
God uses our hard times to build our strength, teach us patience, perseverance and compassion for those less fortunate than ourselves.
Priorities change with each passing year
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it." Ephesians 22:6.
There is a twinkling perseverance in the eyes of the elderly. They've been there, they've done that. They've suffered with hardships that we, as the younger generation, may never comprehend.
My grandparent's were prime examples of lives lived to the fullest amidst the great depression. My mamaw would take old seed cloth bags and sew them together to make quilts and dresses. Still to this day, she has a warm and beautiful seed cloth quilt, and canned goods filling the basement walls from floor to ceiling. "You never know..." She says.
My papaw would pick apples from the trees outback for her to fry up and can, and he would bring her in another gorgeous maple leaf to use as a quilt pattern.
I had the privilege of working at 2 Nursing Homes years ago, and I saw the same characteristics in the elderly at work that I saw in my own grandparent's growing up. They are not stupid, old people. They have been through the school of hard knocks, each one having their own struggles in the past that have helped define them as the elderly today.
When I get old, what will matter most to me? I often question myself as to how my priorities may change. I am in the "raising children" and "providing for my family" phase now, but I know it will change one day. I understand the value of having respect for my elders and compassion for the ones who cannot help themselves. I see that in the lives of the elderly what matters most to them is a warm meal, laughter, fellowship and love.
As time goes on and we grow older in life, we need to be considering what matters most. We cannot take anything with us when we die, but we sure do leave a lot behind. What life testimony will you leave behind one day when you draw your last breath?
With each passing year, circumstances or hardships change. One truth that will never change is the fact that we all grow old, feeble, become incapacitated, and eventually die. So in essence, our hardships never end; but what testimony we leave behind for future generations may last long after we are gone.
I have learned to look at the elderly in a completely different way, especially since losing three grandparent's and working at nursing homes. When you see it first hand every day, it should be an eye opener for each of us, giving us compassion and respect.