I was staying with my grandparents over the Christmas holidays when I was about 10 years old. They were members of a group at College Church in Wheaton called “60+ Club”. It was a fellowship group for people over 60 years old. “60+” was having a Christmas party and since I was staying with my grandparents they took me with them. I’ll always remember the way my grandparents introduced me to their friends. They seemed so proud of me and wanted their friends to know I was their grandchild. I already knew many of these people because our whole family had attended College Church my whole life! Another thing I remember was the way the people there addressed each other. It was “Rev. Barker” and “Mrs. Gustafsson”, “Mr. Fischer”, and “Mrs. Alexander”. These people knew each other well but no one called each other by their first names! They were very gracious and made me feel like an honored guest, not a bother who my grandparents had to drag along. The final memory is how OLD these people seemed. They were all over 60!
I will be 60 in four days. I am looking forward to it! I have so much to be thankful for and so many wonderful opportunities to look forward to. Just last week one of my Art II students was acting lazy and tired in class. I said, “Jim, (not his real name) I have more energy at my age than you do at 16!” Jim looked at me and replied, “I think people should just die when they turn 60!” Most of the rest of the class was horrified! Several of my students knew that I was going to be 60 soon. Several other students laughed – I did, too. “Jim, I will be 60 soon and I enjoy life so much. I have many things to be thankful for.” I replied. Besides teaching art – I hope to teach them life does not end at 30.
I was reminded by this incident that our culture has deceived young people into thinking that you only have fun in life when you are young. The lie is also pervasive that after 30 there is nothing worth living for. “The best years of your life”… when are those? Certainly not after 30 and definitely not after 60! How sad!
The Bible tells of numerous people who had their finest moments when they were old and “full of years”. Moses became the leader of the Israelites after 40, Abraham, Sarah, Elizabeth, Zechariah, all were used of God when they were old.
As someone who is now facing “the rest of my life” I want to be a testimony of someone who enjoys every minute that God gives me to fulfill His purposes. I was blessed with 4 grandparents who lived fully until the very end of their lives. My father’s father did acquire some dementia his last few years, but each dessert was “the best I ever tasted”, and each flower was the “most beautiful I have ever seen”. What a pleasant way to finish life. Instead of pining for the past – Grandpa Barker certainly enjoyed the present!
My Grandmother Rohner painted lovely paintings past her 90th birthday. Until her final months, she was still collecting pictures and thinking about layouts for paintings that she never painted, but she was still planning!
As a grandmother myself now, I want to model for my grandchildren a zest for life and an appreciation for the blessings of God’s faithfulness. I want to let them see by example that getting older is not something to dread or lament but something to receive from God since He is the one who numbers our days.
These verses are a chorus we sing that is one of my ALL TIME favorites. May we be living testimonies of this Truth!