Saturday, June 02, 2018

"Wisdom of the Aged" by Peter A. Black

Humble and hardworking, Millie was a farm girl who lived through World Wars I and II and the Great Depression. She witnessed technological advancements from the early days of telephone, air-flight, radio and television and atomic power, to space-flight, micro-computers, smart phones and 3-D printers. And now she’s gone. In her 100th year, she’d outlived her husband and two children.

My wife's late bro-in-law. 
A delightful man.
Since June is Seniors Month, I'm focusing today on seniors' wisdom. 
Some readers may recall that we featured Millie in several posts here during the past year-and-a- half. I was privileged last week to play prelude music, present a vocal solo and accompany the hymn-singing at her memorial service. She has exchanged her cottage in the woods for a dwelling in the heavenlies, with the Lord she loved and served.

A host of extended family members and friends gathered to celebrate her life, including elderly seniors – some stooped over, leaning on canes – and through all age groups to babes in arms. After the interment they crowded into the church hall to share lunch and fellowship together. Yes, this lady was loved and respected, and it showed.

Millie demonstrated the wisdom of age and life experience in the way she approached the art of living during her years of bereavement and diminishing strength.

This isn't our Millie
Credit: Istock via google-free
She manifested the serenity of contentment and was satisfied with sufficiency, and she especially evidenced the grace of gratitude.

When in her presence, I sensed an aura of quiet confidence with which she lived from day to day, allowing people to come and go via the unlocked door of her home.

Hers was the wisdom of trusting God in the small and the great moments of life, and in times of need as well as in days of plenty. These qualities contributed towards her emotional health and wellbeing.
Her nephew, when giving a eulogy in behalf of the family, referenced that healthful aspect in relation to Millie’s journey through the Great Depression of the thirties. He used the word grit. She was a gritty woman, putting her hand to the plough literally and metaphorically in exercising courage to press on and make the best of extremely difficult circumstances.

And so, I honour her memory for the person she was and the example she set as one who lived with the “wisdom of the aged.”
I appreciate the emphasis our First Nations place on their elders.
Whereas in the general culture we often witness mocking disparagement of the elderly, many First Nations youth are turning to their elders, seeking out their generational wisdom and learning for stewarding life and land.
Poignant question:
How would I like younger people to treat me if I were old and feeble?
The Israelites were instructed (in Leviticus 19:32 NIV):
“Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God.  
I am the LORD.”

Peter A. Black is a retired pastor – well, sort of retired – and lives in Southwestern Ontario. He writes a weekly inspirational newspaper column, P-Pep! and is author of Raise Your Gaze ... Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart, and Parables from the Pond – a children's / family book. ~~+~~


Rose McCormick Brandon said...

I love this, Peter. You're so right about showing respect and honour to the elderly. Sometimes it seems the elderly are ignored, even in church. Sad really.

Peter Black said...

Thanks Rose. Yes it is sad, and I suggest that it reflects a sick and spiritually under-nourished society.
I venture to further suggest that churches, in attempting to reach the current and emerging generations, do well to not fail in ministering to and engaging the elderly. On the other hand, those of us who are senior require flexibility of mind and grace with generosity of spirit to accept and be supportive of honourable means of outreach and ministry in engaging those who are younger. ~~+~~

Popular Posts