When the playwright Arthur Miller died in 2005 an interview shown on TV had him commenting that he felt old age, with its diminishing loss of strength and ability was unfair. No doubt that he reflected a view that many would hold and most of us would understand.
Growing old certainly brings its challenges and heartaches but we do well to remember Maurice Chevaliers realism when he quipped “old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative!”
As with so many things in life how we handle growing old, along with the prospect of death will be sweetened or soured by our attitude and understanding of God.
I read/heard of a quote from Guy King who said concerning old age – accept it, adjust to it, adorn it.
There is no doubt that if our life is spared many of us will need to accept old age. We are not entirely unprepared since we see it in our grandparents, then our parents and others. Whilst it never pays to think and act old our bodies eventually bring home the reality. Accepting old age doesn’t mean we are useless or need to consider ourselves a burden on others. A friend once chided his elderly mother who complained at being a burden to him with the words “was I a burden to you when you raised me, why should it be wrong for me to look after you.”
Adjustments need to be made for sure, and whilst difficult, these need not be bad for us. For example having more time to think and reflect can be good for us if we’ve never given time to think about the Lord Jesus.
Old age can be adorned when family and friends can see a growing contentment developing within us. When others see that life can be lived and enjoyed even when we cannot do the things we may want to do and we cannot do the things others consider essential we are offering a rare gift to others.
When a person knows the Lord Jesus as their personal Saviour, Lord and friend they are at peace with God and themselves.
Guilt from the sins of the past has been dealt with and they know where they are going. Death holds no fear. They can spend time praying for others and with lives less cluttered can spend time listening to others.
John Newton, writer of Amazing Grace, when 82, said “my memory is nearly gone but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Saviour.” These truths known personally will transform us whether young or old.