Growing Older Gracefully
Our Bodies Grow Older
As we grow older, there seem to be some problems that we could well do without. I remember one old man I visited in a Nursing Home. He said to me,
"It's just as well we get all these physical problems when we're older, because we've seen a lot of life and are tougher for coping with them."
That is very wise and so true, but wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to? If we just sailed along on calm waters until we reached the Heavenly Harbour at the end of our journey?
Unfortunately, that does not happen for most of us and we seem to spend much more of our time visiting the doctor, the dentist, the specialist, the radiologist, etc. However, we are very blessed to be living in a time and a place where all this assistance is so readily available and for that I am grateful.
Another grey hair (or a whole bundle of them)? Look on it as a sign that we're growing closer to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Keep Your Mind Sharp
For the majority of us there are compensations, as our bodies age our minds remain comparatively fresh and sharp. I think Cicero, when writing about old age, said that the young often have something of the old person in them and the old have something of the young in them.
That seems to be true. We sometimes look at our grandchildren and other little ones; they seem so sweet and old-fashioned in their manners and movements. On the other hand, we see older people who retain the freshness and sharpness of youth, remaining positive in their outlook and still seeing the world with youthful eyes.
It would be good to be like that, to grow old gracefully. In fact, as a teenager, after a visit from some elderly relatives, I once remarked to my Mother that older people either seem to grow old gracefully or become more and more grumpy. I know which one I would rather be.
If our minds that God has given us remain sharp and fresh, let's use them.
Remember Past Lessons, But Look Forward
A Time to Keep Quiet
Experiences of the past, both good and bad, often remain quite fresh in our minds and if we are wise we can learn from these lessons of life. However, we will not be very popular if we keep referring to our experiences at length to whoever will listen. As we are told in Ecclesiastes, there is a time for everything, and that includes talking: a time to talk and a time to keep quiet.
Lesson: Thou shalt not talk too much.
A Time to Use
When we are older, we continue to travel on our life's journey: let us rejoice in it. We may need to watch out where we are heading, or we might stumble. The climb may seem uphill and steep, but remember, we are growing closer to reaching our goal. If God grants it, we still have some time left and we need to use it wisely.
The future is still a challenge, perhaps even more than it was in our middle years. We need to think about using the time left to complete all those unfinished tasks. What about all those stories we were going to write, those pictures we were going to paint? Those people we were going to help? St. John wrote his Gospel that tells so wonderfully of God's love when he was about ninety. Let's not waste any more time.
Lesson: Thou shalt not procrastinate.
Growing Older and Wiser
Our bodies grow old, it's a fact of life. With help from Father God and from other people, as we age we learn to cope with our bodies and with our journey through life. If we are blessed and our minds remain sharp and fresh, let us use them.
I recall a verse we learned as children:
The wise old owl sat in an oak,
The more he saw, the less he spoke,
The less he spoke, the more he heard;
I wish there were more like that wise old bird.
Let us utilise that wisdom that we have learned and let us practise being good listeners. Let us help others in practical ways if we are able, and spend time praising our Heavenly Father for His guidance all along our journey. If we can't do much else, we can pray. Let us pray for others at all times.
© 2012 Bronwen Scott-Branagan