We share this timely message with you from our Children and Family Coordinator. We know it will be a blessing to you, especially if you try this yourselves!
Am I old?
Some time ago, I attended a performance about old age. The two main actresses who were around 90-years-old, played the parts of 70-year-old's! Watching these elderly women vibrantly portray younger women, so effectively, made me think about old age, and how the times are changing for our elderly folks. The play went on for nearly two hours, without a break!
When do we actually become "old?" At 70? 80? Some like to say that getting old depends on how you feel; "I might look old on the outside, but I feel so young on the inside." I am not quite there yet, so I can't say for sure exactly what it is like to get "old," but what we can definitely say is that old age is changing. Many of today's older folks stay active, work well past retirement age, travel, keep a routine of daily exercise and lead on-the-go life styles.
Of course that is not true for all. For many elderly, old age means loneliness, sickness and poverty, a harsh reality we don't like to talk about. In the play, one of the jokes reflected this sad truth. "Why don't old timers play hide and seek? Because no one will go looking for them."
Are you looking?
Scripture teaches us that old age is a blessing, an honor, and long days is a gift of God. So we should be asking ourselves. "Are we allowing our elderly family members, friends and congregants to feel honored, blessed and that they are a gift to us?"
At Beit Immanuel a large group of young people have grown up in the congregation alongside a group of grandma's and grandpa's who have grown old. There couldn't be two more different, contrasting groups of people. Their lifestyles, interests, world views, social and professional needs are world's apart. Normally, they would have very little chance to get to know, or appreciate, one another.
That's why we organized a time for them to meet, and what we
learned you can see for yourselves.
The youngsters cooked and served a meal, but when we all sat down to eat, we realized that we do not even know each others names! So we played a game to see who knew who, and the elderly won!!!
After dinner, they exchanged worlds. The youth portrayed their world to the old folks, and they in turn described theirs to the youngsters. Wow, did they have something to learn from one another! Again, the elderly were more aware of what our young people are going through, than the young were of what it is like to be elderly.
So we got into small groups and they asked each other some questions like: "Was it easier to be young back in your times or today? Do you have any regrets for anything you did not do when you were young? What do you think about the youth of today? How should we choose a husband or wife?
It was fascinating to see, that in spite of the huge differences in world views and interests, there is a lot of agreement between young and old. Once they got to talking, they found that there were many things they could pray about together, ways they could support and encourage one another, and things they could learn, one from another.
They found that like the Bible teaches, when they take the time to listen and understand, there is no substitute for the wisdom of the aged, and that old age can be a blessing, even through the many changes growing old brings to our lives.
We learned that we are blessed to have the opportunity to get to know
so many elderly folks in our congregation, and that we are blessed so see a growing group of young ones who understand this.