I was speaking recently to an elderly woman. She had just gone through a gruelling week. She had been to the funeral of a good friend’s spouse, another friend had had a stroke and a third good friend was in the hospital after suffering a heart attack. After describing these three tragedies in detail she paused for a moment and said grimly, “Growing old is no picnic.”
I remember visiting a nursing home when I was a teenager. It felt surreal seeing so many people with such broken and aging bodies; it felt horrible. I wondered, “Is that what I have to look forward to?” I think that was one of the reasons that I decided as young adult to work in a nursing home. It was a question for God, “There has got to be some hope there, I hope I can see it.”
Working closely with people in a nursing home for several years and coming to love the residents was an eye-opening experience for me. There was more life there than I imagined, even in the midst of a lot of suffering.
Where is God in the picture of old age in your mind? How do you see aging people relating to God in the challenges they are facing? I am continuing my sermon series on “Aging Gracefully” this week, hope to see you there!
This week’s prayer: Give us compassion and a spirit of learning, so that we can listen carefully to the wisdom of the very old.