Sunday, August 29, 2010

Old age is not for sissies . . .

At least that's what I've been told. I've also heard these older years referred to as the Golden Years. The response to that is whoever named them "golden" hasn't reached these years yet. So, how did I get where I am today?

Just this week I was reflecting on the beginnings of Older Adult Ministry at our home church in Mississippi at the request of some folks working on the fiftieth anniversary of the church. I was reminded of one of the obstacles I had to overcome--age. I was in my forties and felt rather presumptious telling people older than I what they needed. My convictions about ministering to and alongside older adults were, at that point, theory. I had been carefully taught both in the classroom and by being a caregiver for my mother, but I was young myself. Then one day I opened my eyes and the theories had become reality; "they" had become "we." We were on Medicare and folks no longer asked to see ID if we were to qualify for senior citizen discounts. Those maladies that plagued the elderly "others" became all too familiar.

This week Tom has the first of two cataract surgeries, a condition associated more with the older folks. We have to be at the surgery center Tuesday at 6:45 a.m. Who in their right mind gets up that early anymore? The surgery has become so streamlined over the years that the pre-admit process takes more effort than the actual surgery--or so it seems. Tom is looking forward to improved vision.

I am increasingly aware of limitations imposed upon us, not just because of our ages, but also because of our illnesses. How far or how much I have to walk determines much of where I go and what I do. This week I've had problems with sore feet in addition to the persistent fatigue. Both are side effects of chemo. Plans to go to the grocery store have become as involved as planning for a two week vacation. I have begun to use a motorized cart and thus far haven't run over anyone or anything and I've found that most people are really eager to help you reach those items that are either too high or too low on the shelves.

This week our goals are for him to see better and for me to walk better. Those are not only our goals, but our prayer as well.

I have been blessed by so, so many people in Older Adult Ministry. There are people for whom the ministry was planned; there are those with whom I worked--people in local churches, people across the denomination. My life has been enriched by them all. The circumstances of older age might not be golden, but the wisdom gained, the rewards of friendship and family shine brighter than gold.

I am older, but I am definitely not a sissy.

I will claim Isaiah 40:29-31: He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Pastor Margaret

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