Today's Reading: Job 29-31
Today, I plan to visit some of my older friends who are presently in nursing homes or homebound because of the severe winter weather. I have been their companion for quite some time now. Though some who have just met them see them only as frail and helpless, I have heard their stories of days when they rode motorcycles, loved women, partied with friends, were successful in their employment and played with their children.
"Don't grow old, Pastor," they tell me.
They share memories of their childhood: Cheerleading at games, romping in a creek, sharing secrets with girlfriends, hitting a homerun out of the ballpark.
They talk about the days they were courting: Flirting with the boys, getting all "gussied up" to take out their best girl, jitterbugging to Big Band music, proposing to their sweetheart.
They show me pictures: "Here I am, second row, with my basketball team." "I'm the one playing the saxophone." "I was a pilot in WWII." "Here's my husband; wasn't he handsome." "Here we are on the porch of our first home."
All smiles, all beautiful, all strong.
"Oh that I were as in months gone by...I was in the prime of my days, when the friendship of God was over my tent; When the Almighty was yet with me, and my children were around me; when my steps were bathed in butter, and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!" 29:2, 4-6
Back in the days when I was respected, when I was the wise one, when I was the giver to the needy, when I had power to make a difference.
"And now look at me," they say. I have arthritic pains. I have to get up three or four times a night to go to the bathroom. I can't see. What did you say? Could you hand me my cane? I'm lonely. My dentures don't fit. My bowels don't move. I can't remember. My skin is fragile. I have trouble walking. My heart is bad. I miss my wife. My children rarely visit. I'm ready to die.
"And now, my soul is poured out within me; Days of affliction have seized me. At night it pierces my bones within me, and my gnawing pains take no rest." 30:16,17
My young friends on Facebook this morning long for their school days to be over. "Three more years and then I'm done with highschool and get to start college!" "One more semester of college and I'll be able to get a job, I can't wait!"
"Slow down!" I want to scream. Visit some elderly ones and they will tell you, "These are your best days! Carpe diem!" Seize this day and live, love and laugh to your fullest.
I, too, need to hear this wisdom. I need to tuck it into my coat as I head out the door today. Slow down, M. This is a marvelous day to make a wonderful memory. You are in your prime. You have power to help others. Don't miss a single opportunity to do good! Remember you are dust, and one day, to dust you shall return. Seize this day!
O Lord, help me to do so!