The pink, princess tent in the basement is our tent in the wilderness. We look through a hole in the tent roof to see the nighttime stars and look for the Big Dipper. Samantha, the leader of our camp, turns out the lights and tells me and baby sister it is time to go to sleep now. We try to lie down in this 3 foot by 3 foot space. Baby sister starts to cry because it is dark and someone is kicking her. Suddenly, Samantha sits up and gasps “What is that noise? Who is coming? It must be PINK FOOT!”
It took me a minute, but I finally understood what she meant. BIG FOOT, yes, Big Foot was coming.
Perhaps, Sam heard about Big Foot on a children’s program or cartoon. But, she didn’t quite hear the “big” part. She heard pink. Of course! That is her favorite color.
This reminded me of how often we interpret life’s events or another person’s comments through our own filter. Our own likes and dislikes, past experiences, insecurities and fears often cause us to not only hear but also to interpret things incorrectly. In Sam’s case it was humorous. Unfortunately, for us, it often can be a source of anxiety or discouragement.
I’ve been thinking about some of the life events that I misinterpret. I am going to be candid. At this stage of life I am often interpreting life events in the context of my own belief that I am getting a little too old to truly be useful or needed. Sounds like a pity party, doesn’t it?
So, as of January 17, 2012, I am committed to hearing things and interpreting life events correctly. That means I need to jettison some old thoughts that are shooting me in the foot—my pink foot!
May I list them for you? May I add the truth of God’s Word that helps me hear and see accurately? Would you add your own truth or Scripture suggestions in our comment section?
I’m too old to be useful to God. I’m finished.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Psalm 92 outlines the life of a person who is following God. Verses 12-15 are rock solid encouragement for us as we age:
The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree…They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.
Here is a truth to hang on to: The fruit of old age can be the most enduring and lasting.
Yesterday, I spent a few minutes talking about grandparenting with Nancy Turner on WMBI. As we finished, I was unable to hear the conclusion of the program. I’ve been told that she immediately began to receive messages from people who wanted to share grandma stories. The impact of their grandmothers was still fresh on their hearts even though they may have been gone from them for many years. Our impact does not lessen with age. It can become more powerful. It can be more sweet.
Young people aren’t interested in what I have to say. I should just stay out of their way.
Young people long for a relationship with an older adult. They are not interested in our criticism or lectures. They ARE interested in our wisdom and kindness. A study from the UK revealed that adolescents with a close connection to a grandparent report a greater overall sense of well-being. These adolescents also reported that during times of crisis they were grateful for the support and problem solving skills of grandparents.
Little children need us. Adolescents need us. Young adults need us. Our friends and neighbors need us too.
At this stage of life, we can be teachers, mentors, guides, encouragers, comforters, playmates, tutors, readers, bakers, crafters, travelers, friends, listeners, confidantes, nature lovers, historians, storytellers and most of all pray-ers.
Here is a truth to hold on to: God can use all of our life experiences to enrich the life of a younger person.
Our culture does not value aging. Therefore, I am not valuable.
Our culture has a problem with “ageism.” It is as real as sexism. There is a real marginalization of people over the age of sixty. We often become aware of this lack in our culture in our mid-fifties and it can be a source of discouragement.
Aren’t you relieved that we don’t have to hold to the same values as our culture? We can cling to the values of God’s Word. Here are two OT passages that hint at our value as we age.
Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?
Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.
The NT writers also encouraged older men and older women to serve as teachers and mentors to younger people. Paul encouraged younger people to never be harsh with older people, to treat them with the kindness and respect they would offer to a beloved parent.
Here is a truth to hold on to: God values our wisdom as we age and wants to use us to mentor and guide young people.
Yes, this a great truth to hold on to. Here is the catch. It is also a truth that requires our obedience. What is God telling you today about your future? Where can he use you?
We thank you for each day that you have given to us. We thank you for each experience that has strengthened us and taught us about your faithfulness. We want to return each day, each gift, each thing we have learned in service to you. Give us great humility, kindness, patience and wisdom and a willingness to learn as we share with others. May we flourish like a palm tree and stay tender to you. May our eyes be open to the places where we can be friends, listeners, confidantes, gentle guides, mentors and pray-ers for younger people. Use us, Lord, whatever our age.