Some Reflections on Getting Older

Older Couple Sitting Together at BeachYesterday was my birthday.   And this annual event has occupied my thinking a little more than in past years.

I have fluctuated between competing emotions.  For instance I have felt a little like the baseball great Ty Cobb, who played in a different era.  He retired in 1928 at the age of 41 with a lifetime .367 batting average.  When he was 70 a reporter asked, “What do you think you’d hit if you were playing today?” 

Cobb replied, “Oh, about .290.  Maybe .300.”

The reporter responded, “I guess that’s because of increased travel?  Night games?  Artificial Turf?  And new pitches like the slider? Right?

Cobb calmly glared at the reporter and said, “No.  It because I’m 70!

I kinda felt that way last month at the Florida College alumni basketball game. “Hey,” I thought, “I should have suited up.  I could still do that!”  After all, age is only a number!  Right?

Of course, we all look at others our own age and are guilty of thinking, “I’m glad I don’t look that old!”

It reminds me of the story of a man waiting for his first appointment with a new dentist.  He noticed the certificate in the exam room which gave his full name.  He thought I went to school with that guy 40 years ago!

However, when the dentist entered the room, he realized that it couldn’t be the same person.  This guy was a balding, graying old man.  Much too old to have been his classmate.

Finally, at the end of the exam, he asked the dentist if he had attended the local high school.  “Yes, he replied.

“When did you graduate?” the patient asked.

“1957.” Answered the dentist.

“Wow!  You were in my class! He exclaimed.

Then the dentist looked closely at him and seriously asked, “What did you teach?”

Ouch!

There are a variety of factors that influence our attitude about aging.

If we’re honest, there is a certain point where getting older frightens us a little bit.  Like Jonathan swift once said, “Every man desires to live long, but no man wants to be old!”

We live in a youth oriented culture.  Youth is glorified.  Beauty is worshiped. Physical fitness is admired.  On the other hand old age is something to be covered up.  Denied. Or even ignored.

The Old Testament teaches respect for the “gray headed” and honor for the “old man” (Lev 19:32).  The New Testament exhorts the older women to teach the younger women.  And the older men to serve as an example to the younger men (Tit. 2:1-4).  In a culture where no one wants to admit being “older” and where youth is exalted and old age disdained, this command is too often neglected.

Maybe we all need reminding that “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, If it is found in the way of righteousness” (Prov 16:31).  Just as the young need to “remember their Creator in the days of their youth,” so do those who’re older.

Hopefully through the years we profit from experience, gain knowledge and grow in wisdom.  It has been said that “the man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”  Indeed, “The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old (Prov 20:2).

We may share the concern of David when he prayed, “Do not cast me off in the time of old age;  Do not forsake me when my strength fails” (Ps. 71:9).  But we can be assured of God’s love, care and protection. God values and uses both young and old to accomplish His purpose.

Whether young or old, let’s keep age in its proper perspective.  After all it’s not the years we’ve lived in our lives that’s so important.  But the life that we have lived in our years.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

7 Comments

Filed under Age

7 responses to “Some Reflections on Getting Older

  1. Bill Hood

    Well, Happy Birthday my young brother! I am grateful to our God that you have spent, and are spending, your life as you do. When you introduced me and my family to the Lord, it was a great blessing. Knowing Him these going on forty years has been the greatest blessing! Thank you for crossing that dirt alley!

  2. Billie

    YES SORRY THAT YOU AND CAL ARE GETTING OLDER, BUT NORMA AND I STILL LOOK AS FRESH AS WHEN WE MARRIED 50 YEARS AGO.

  3. Steve Segrest

    Lunch break comment. A beloved engineering mentor of mine (Dr. Alex Green of UF) recently had his 80th birthday. Dr. Green told me that Top Scientists at UF had just completed extensive empirical research and found that people who have the most birthdays, tend to live the longest! Thus a birthday, any birthday, is a really good thing.

  4. julie davidson

    happy belated birthday, Bro. Ken! 🙂 love in Him, Julie

  5. Ruth Long Conger

    Ken, at age 81, I would never want to be 16 again even if possible. Just to imagine what I have to look forward to, makes the aging process seem to go slower than I would prefer. I am eager to go on and on and on. As we grow older we need to harken unto Psa. 71:17-18 KJ version. I believe that Roy & Mattie and my parents did, don’t you?

  6. Herb Matthews

    AS I teach my anatomy and physiology students it is the side effects of Accumulated wisdom and maturity.

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