News coverage in the last week has gone from inspiring to devastating. All we can do for Orlando is pray and offer peace and love to those around us. Chick Fil A gave us a great example by firing up the grills on SUNDAY and giving free food to those giving blood and to police and firefighters. That’s compassion in action.
The stories about Mohammad Ali, a child of Kentucky who influenced the world in multitudes of ways, lifted me up. The quotations from him were especially interesting, from the famous “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” to my favorite, “The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
The political scene is the most disturbing I’ve known. I try to avoid political discussions, but this quotation I saw today brought to mind the one from Mohammad Ali: “I look at myself in the first grade and I look at myself now, I’m basically the same. The temperament is not that different.” That’s from Donald Trump.
Now he didn’t say he views the world the same, but I think that’s implied. As I look over my own life, I am appalled at some of my attitudes when I was 20 or 30. Or 50. I’m proud to be 71 and I’m especially enjoying my current read, Disrupt Aging, by Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP. She encourages us to look at this time in our lives as “extended middle age.” I love that!
I find myself watching others and thinking, “Do I slump that much?” “Is my hair that gray?” “Do I have more wrinkles than she does?” I don’t want to do that. I want to judge others and myself by our actions, not our looks. I don’t judge my friends by how they look; in fact, I’m always admiring them in contrast to me.
But what I admire most is people who keep going, no matter what their ages. I think of Revelation 2:10, which I learned in the King James Version: “…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” I think that can apply to our lives as well as our faith in Jesus.
My friend who is 77 still works part-time at a golf course. He doesn’t need the money—he needs the stimulation of being around energetic people.
My mother worked in a law office until she was over 80 and was elected to the school board of a large school system in Tennessee when she was 81. She ran for re-election at 85 and called people from the hospital on Election Day, asking for their votes. She lost by only 20 votes—ones she would have had if she had been healthy and out electioneering.
When we have our Thursday mothers’ Bible study, our regular sitters are 76 and 77. They alternate with a father who is 31—a guy who doesn’t let traditional gender roles keep him from giving child care when it is needed.
When I visited a friend who was then 89, she insisted on driving to the restaurant because she could do it better than I could at 69. She still went to two bridge clubs, volunteered at church, and hosted family whenever they could come.
My 82-year-old aunt still plays the piano at church every Sunday; her 84-year-old sister drives to a nursing home every day to visit and care for her husband of 50 years and is always eager to discuss current family and national events.
Our 84-year-old friend drives herself to church, helps teach a children’s class, and always brings delicious food to church dinners. And she’s a worthy opponent when we play Words with Friends!
Which reminds me of one of my Scrabble buddies, the minister who baptized me in 1957. He beats me regularly. I don’t know his age, but he’s in his eighties.
It’s all about growing—learning, expanding, helping others, teaching others, using the wisdom we’ve gleaned.
We used to say “old” was anyone ten years older than we were. Now I think it’s 90 or more. At least until I get there! Then we may have to extend it a bit.