Monday, February 23, 2009

"Old People"...The Blessings They Give Us

Our pastor has a great gift for making everyone feel special and loved in Christ. I know that sounds silly - shouldn't every pastor have that ability? But I mean it; I mean everyone ...from the littlest the oldest senior citizen...and everyone in between. And it's not just a "feeling" that you are special when you talk with Pastor Mark...he gives you solid proof. The first thing being, of course, that Jesus died for you and has given you the Keys to the Kingdom. All you have to do is recognize that Jesus is your personal Savior and have a relationship with Him. The relationship part is not easy--and a lot of Christians (myself included) do not put much time or effort into the relationship. It's not just about going to church, punching in your card for an hour or so per week. It's more. As with any good relationship, there are ups and downs and it takes TIME. It takes time to read His Word, to talk to Him, and especially to LISTEN to what God is saying. (I know I do a lot of talking, but not enough listening. I tend to be that way with a lot of people--and that is something I am consciously working on...being a better LISTENER.)

As I was saying (before I started rambling), Pastor Mark upholds the value in each person. One group of people who especially need that are the elderly. Pastor Mark is wonderful with older people and often comments on the WISDOM found in each older person. "There is so much wisdom in their faces...their stories..." And he considers it a blessing to be among the elderly. What some people would think is scary, tiresome, or depressing--he sees as a beautiful blessing. I love his take on this. And I am starting to really "see" what he is seeing. Here are a few examples of my recent experiences with older folks...

*I've been interviewing Hank to make a sample life story book/CD for my business. Hank is 85 and, as owner-operator of a local historic site, is a fountain of knowledge. His house looks like a museum, as he has lived all over the world and worked for universities, the United Nations, and on the family farm. The thing that most impresses me about Hank is his humility --here is this man who, as his middle son told me, has "dined with kings" but doesn't brag about it. He has awards all over the walls, but the first thing he is proud to point out are his family pictures and the artwork of his beloved late wife. Hank welcomed me and my baby girl into his home with warmth and kindness, even letting Wynne play with a bronze tea set from Africa. What some would consider priceless antiques or collectibles, Hank treats as what they really are...just things. Hank realizes what's important in life and he finds joy in the little things, like the squirrels that feed outside his kitchen window, or the smile of a little child. True wisdom.

*My Uncle Dale passed away late last week. Although I hadn't seen him for a few years (he lived hours away in an Alzheimer's facility), I fondly remember his great sense of humor, the jokes he made, and his amazing woodcarving ability. He loved his family, his horses, and stories of childhood growing up on a Dakota prairie with Native Americans as neighbors. Like Hank, a hardworking, salt-of-the-earth fellow. He lived in simpler times, and even after owning a successful flooring business, in what did he find the most joy and pride? Not in things, but in experiences. Loved ones and memories. Simple wisdom.

*My prayer partner at church is a gal who's probably in her mid- to late-70s. She called me last week to update me on prayer concerns, and we talk a lot about our families. As an older, wiser mother/grandmother, I consider her a mentor and friend. She has felt great sorrow in the trials endured by herself and her family members, but through it all, she remains steadfast in her faith. Enduring wisdom.

These "old people" are among the many treasures God has placed on this earth for us to learn from, relate to, and bless. They have figured out what really matters, and the irony is that they aren't really "old people"....they have been made NEW. Look through their eyes and see life in a new light!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! --2 Corinthians 5:17


Blogger Astrid said...

Amy- that was truly a wonderful and thoughtful post! Certainly gives me something to ponder and think about. :)

February 23, 2009 at 5:52 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Aw gee, thanks Astrid! I just write sometimes for personal therapeutic reasons...but I'm glad it touched you! Sometimes we stay-at-homes just have to talk, even if nobody's out there listening! Thanks.

February 24, 2009 at 10:16 AM  

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