GROWING OLD WITH A TWINKLE IN OUR EYES
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree. They will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age. They will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright. He is my rock and there is no wickedness in Him”
Sir Norman Wisdom once said:
“As you get older, three things happen… The first is that your memory goes… and I can’t remember the other two!”
Thomas Chisholm was an American from Kentucky, who was editor of the Pentecostal Herald, a schoolmaster, an ordained minister… and an insurance salesman! He also wrote 1200 hymns. Shortly before his death, aged 94, he wrote these words:
“My income has never been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years, which has followed me on until now. But I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant keeping God, and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care, which have filled me with astonishing gratefulness.”
But the old days were the best days, weren’t they?
Here is an anonymous poem expressing such thoughts…
We met and were married a long time ago
We worked for long hours when wages were low
No TV, no radio, no bath—times were hard
Just cold water taps and a walk in the yard
No holidays abroad; no posh carpets on the floors
~But we had coal on the fire and we didn’t lock the doors
Our children arrived… no “Pill” in those days
And we brought them up properly without any State aid
The children were safe to go out in the park
In those days, we were safe to go out in the dark
~ No Valium, no drugs and no bad LSD
We cured most of our ills with a nice cup of tea
But if you were sick, you were treated at once
No ‘fill in this form and come back in six months’!
No vandals, no muggings… there was nothing to rob
And we were terribly rich with a couple of bob
~ People were happier in those far-off days
Kinder and caring in so many ways
Milkmen and paperboys used to whistle and sing
A night at the pictures was ‘having a fling’
~ We all get our share of trouble and strife
And we just have to face it… that’s the pattern of life
But now I’m alone and look back through the years
I don’t think of the hard times: the troubles, the tears
I remember the blessing… our home, friends and love
And that we shared them together… So I thank God above!
BUT GROWING OLDER MEANS THAT OUR APPEARANCE CHANGES
A lady called Marina Cuell wrote this amusing poem about the ageing process:
I looked in the mirror and what did I see?
Good heavens! There’s an old person looking at me!
She must have sneaked in there and taken my place…
Oh, no! What on earth has she done to my face?!
She’s got it all wrinkled, so different from me.
When I think of myself that is NOT what I see
I don’t understand it: oh, what has she done!
Oh wait! Now I see it. That lady’s my MUM!
I think we know what she means!
Someone called Lucy Blades wrote an equivalent poem for older men:
The other day, I happened by chance
As I passed by a mirror to give it a glance
And I wondered who on earth that old man could be
With mouth gaping wide and peering at me!
His bald head was sprinkled with a little grey fuzz
And he wasn’t at all handsome like I always was
He looked like a mishmash of odd jigsaw parts
Thrown all together with no instructions or charts
And while I know that my shoulders don’t slump
This man in the mirror’s are one arching hump
Now if that is my image, I only can say
They don’t make mirrors like they did in my day!
STRANGE HOW THINGS CHANGE… even people’s names…
Who would have guessed that children would be called names like Suki… India… Callum… TJ… Paige… Becks… Sax… Ty…
What ever happened to Ethel… Bernard… Doris… Horace… Floss… Cecilia… Albert… Arthur… Joan?
And pity people who have ordinary first names but inappropriate when linked with their surnames…
MIND YOU, THERE ARE SOME ADVANTAGES IN GETTING OLDER…
- You don’t have to worry about fulfilling other people’s expectations of you
- You can smile about things that happened in the old days… even things that at the time seemed so serious
- You can enjoy just sitting and enjoying a lovely cream cake without worrying about your figure
- You enjoy hearing about other people’s operations and telling them about your own!
- Men stop trying to hold their stomachs in when a lovely lady walks past!
- Your joints are a better weather forecast than the Met Office!
- Your secrets are safe with your friends… because they can’t remember them either!
Not to mention a free bus pass….
LIFE IS, OF COURSE, FULL OF UPS AND DOWNS
We all know that time moves faster as we get older…
- But we learn to appreciate the ordinary things of life much more
- For instance, we enjoy warmth and our food!
- And we give thanks that we can go to the toilet! (DAVID PAWSON)
Sometimes we have regrets about the past….
- Perhaps we wonder if we’ve made the best use of our lives
- Perhaps we’ve made mistakes that it’s too late to rectify
But as Sophia Loren once said: “Mistakes are part of the dues that one pays for a full life”
WHAT EVER MISTAKES WE MIGHT HAVE MADE… there’s one mistake we simply must not make… Rejecting or ignoring Jesus the Saviour
Perhaps we think of ourselves as getting too old to count… even that we’re a burden
When my Dad was struggling with his health, he said (miserably) that he was of no use to anyone… just a burden on the State
But in God’s sight, you are as precious and significant as you were on the day you were born… or in your physical prime
Never let anyone (especially Satan whispering in your ear) tell you that you are of less worth to God now than you used to be!
WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG YOU COULDN’T WAIT TO GROW UP!
- As when we get older, we look back and rather wish we could be young again… but know what we know now!
A lady asked a missionary, “Why does God let us grow old and weak?” He replied:
‘I think God has planned the strength and beauty of youth to be physical… but the strength and beauty of old age is spiritual. We gradually lose the strength and beauty that is temporary, so we’ll be sure to concentrate on the strength and beauty that lasts forever.’
SOMETIMES WE LOOK BACK AND WONDER IF WE’VE MADE THE BEST USE OF OUR LIVES…
- But God sees the sacrifices we’ve made… the kindness we’ve shown…
- True, He sees our failings… but promises to remember our sins no more
James Stewart (as George Bailey) and Donna Reid (as his wife, Mary) starred in a remarkable film called “It’s a Wonderful Life”. At one stage in the film, the hero is so disillusioned with his life that he says to a ‘passing’ angel called Clarence that he wishes he had never been born. Clarence grants him his wish and takes the hero back through his life as if he had never existed. George realizes that his life really has meant something and that it still has great meaning and purpose. After this realisation comes, the angel comments profoundly, “Yes, George, one life touches so many others” Like a ripple caused by a single stone… the effect of every action spreads way beyond its starting point.
PERHAPS WE LOOK RATHER ANXIOUSLY TO THE FUTURE
Woody Allen once joked…
“I don’t mind dying; I just don’t want to be there when it happens!”
- We think of those who have gone before… our parents… members of our family… dear friends… a husband or wife
DEATH IS A MAJOR CHALLENGE TO OUR FAITH AND TRUST IN GOD:
Peter Marshall was a dynamic preacher, who attracted large numbers to his services. In what proved to be one of his last sermons, he made this declaration:
“When the clock strikes for me, I shall go… not one minute early and not one minute late. Until then, there is nothing to fear. I know that the promises of God are true, for they have been fulfilled in my life—time and time again. Jesus still teaches and guides and protects and heals and comforts, and still wins our complete trust and love”
Suddenly, unexpectedly, on the morning of 25th January 1949, Peter Marshall died, aged just 46.
- But he had made his peace with God and, more importantly, he knew the peace OF Go
They say the only certain things in life are death and income tax!
But there is one more certainty… Death is not the end but, for the believer in Jesus Christ, the start of something more wonderful…
- A new beginning
- The end of pain, fear and disappointment
- The start of joy beyond compare
And we will all leave a legacy… not silver or gold… but the love we have shown to God and to people throughout our lives
- For those who are unsure about their relationship with God, remember:
- It’s never too late and you are never too old to commit your life and death into the hands of the Saviour, who promises:
“I will never leave you or forsake you… In my Father’s house, there’s plenty of room for all who will come to Him through me”
Today’s the day; now is the time.