For the past two months I have been volunteering at Runk & Pratt Assisted Living. This apartment complex is located just around the Liberty mountain. I drive and look at the mountain every day and think about how there are all of these college students moving around with big dreams and probably lots of living to do. Then, I think about how right over the hill there are the elderly playing bingo, doing crafts, and hoping that relatives visit. Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day and I went and did an exercise class and holiday crafts with the residents. I looked at the faces of these elderly folks and thought about how many people are afraid of those wrinkled faces and their interesting smells. As I saw each of their eyes, I saw myself in sixty years. What people sometimes forget is that these eighty year olds were once hopping twenty year olds with dreams and goals. They were successful businessmen, entertainers, parents, soldiers, doctors, etc! When I looked into their eyes the wrinkles went away and I saw just their eyes. They have souls and they just happen to be in older bodies.
I feel like this generation is often overlooked. Proverbs 20:29 says, The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair. Our elderly friends hold so many years of life experience and wisdom. It is incredibly valuable to sit down and learn about history from those that have lived it, to hear about the days of old, and to love on these people in their last days. When I was teaching the exercise class, one woman, Elaine, was adamant about not sitting and using the scarves. She was up and moving to the music. Later she was singing and had an amazing voice! Come to find out, Elaine is 86 years old. This woman is still kicking and is an absolute hoot! Then there are others that can barely talk, but there eyes and soft smiles say it all.
Everyone has different callings in life. I am not trying to say that we all need to quit our jobs and go work at nursing homes. However, it is important to obey scripture which says in 1 Timothy 5:1, “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers,” I pray that whoever the Lord places in our lives that are older and grayer than we are, that we will respect them and love them like family. I pray that we will not overlook those that might be physically and mentally weaker. Aging is difficult and it is important to have support and encouragement throughout the process. May we each ask ourselves if we are being proactive in acknowledging and loving the generations that have gone before us.