“Even to your old age and gray hair, I am He, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you.” Isaiah 46:4
“Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.” Lev. 19:32
As I looked up the online weather report, two news boxes flashed their headlines. “I’m a doctor that specializes in anti-aging,” said one. Another in bold letters stated, “I’m all about battling aging in every way I can!” Gazing at the wrinkles that have appeared in my cheeks the last few years, it’s easy to get pulled into these views. Now, I know they are talking about the physical effects of aging. But these views can negatively influence our views of aging in general and of older persons specifically.
So, really… battling aging?!? Growth, change and aging is a natural part of life. Imagine if no one aged after birth. All of us infants! We would be able to do much less if we remained infants. As we journey through life, aging allows us to have a variety of experiences. We sing, play, build things, drive, bake, learn, love, work, and share our gifts and interests. At a certain point in life, we may not be able to still do these things, but we still have value. We have a lifetime of experiences and knowledge that come with age and having lived life. And if open to the Spirit of God, we also have wisdom and understanding from our years lived that are gifts to the generations after us.
Aging is not an option and it does take courage. May we remember three things. For those who have lived decades of life, remember you are valuable. You have years of experience to share with others. You have grown and learned from mistakes that others have yet to make. These are great gifts. For those who are young and have years left to live, remember that, though you know a lot, you do not know it all. Ask those who have lived decades for their wisdom and advice. Listen to their stories and learn from them. Celebrate their lives. And for all, remember that God is with us every step of the way.