Party of One: Have We Abandoned Those in Old Age?

Scripture Verse:  “And now, in my old age, don’t set me aside. Don’t abandon me when my strength is failing.” ~ Psalm 71:9 (NLT)

Quote: “All my life I’ve been taught how to die, but no one ever taught me how to grow old.” ~ Billy Graham, Evangelist (1918 – Present)

When I read that even Billy Graham didn’t know how to grow old, I realized I didn’t either. The superficial things floating around in my shallow pool of knowledge on old age were cataracts, prunes, bunions, early bird specials, and bowel blockage—not necessarily in that order.

Oh, yeah, I forgot, short term memory loss. It’s what causes seniors to remember gas prices from the 1940s but forget to put their teeth in. And so what? If showing respect to a senior by listening to them talk about their past is the worst thing we have to do on this side of heaven, then what is our problem?

You guessed it. Selfishness. We don’t want to take the time—but they will freely share theirs. We don’t think they have anything to teach us. How about patience? Their stories are boring. So are ours to the younger generation. They talk about the old days. Are the new ones so great?

When was the last time you approached an elderly person to start a conversation? Yes, it’s true, they might talk about their eating habits and bodily fluids. But I bet if you ask more interesting questions, you might get more interesting answers: What is the most exciting thing you’ve ever done in your life? Where is the most exotic place you’ve visited? What was your first car? What was school like? What did you want to be when you grew up?  Who was president when you were young? What kind of music did you listen to? What were your hobbies? Who was the first real love of your life? Tell me about your salvation experience?

I’ll be the first to admit this muscle called Patience is one I need to exercise more. Perhaps we can all start by listening to those who have lived longer. They have the experience to teach us.

I’ll be the first to admit this muscle called Patience is one I need to exercise more . . . Huh?  What? I said that already. Oh. Never mind.

Questions for Seniors: What example are you setting for those who will be seniors one day? Do you encourage or criticize? Do you bellyache or praise? Do you see good or only bad? 

Tips for Encouragers: Don’t tell them you care; show them. Slow down long enough to ask an older person how they’re doing. Then sit with them and take time to listen—even if you’ve heard it all before.

The Party of One is a fellowship for those tired of dining alone. Its purpose is to share meals and spend time with singles, not singles as in “dating” singles, but singles as in a community of single diners. Seniors are encouraged to join us! For more info, please contact Clarice James at cjames@claricejames.com or 603-578-1860.

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