Getting old can be glorious


Some people do not like growing old, while others seem to make fun of it. Listen to what people have to say about growing old:

• So many of the older farmers down here still wear baseball caps. They have so many wrinkles, though, they have to screw them on.

• He has the only driver‘s license where Rembrandt did the picture.

• My dentist tells me that I‘m lucky to have most of my teeth still, and they‘re in good condition, too. Keeping all your teeth is easy. You should drink lots of milk, brush/floss often, and mind your own business. This way, you don‘t get to lose them.

Famous author Max Lucado says in a book he penned years ago: You hate it when someone else reminds you:

Barber: “Getting a little thin on top here, Sir.“

Stylist: “Next time you come in, Susan, we‘ll do something about those gray streaks.“

Invitation: “You are invited to your thirtieth high school reunion.“

Doctor: “Nothing to worry about, Mike. Your condition is common for people your age.“

For decades, you enjoyed your youth. You could eat like a horse and not look like one. You never had to think of mortality; death was a millennium away. But then the subtle messages started coming:

You buy your first life insurance policy, which includes burial and funeral expenses. Your friends ask you why you squint when you read the document. The kid carrying your groceries calls you “Mam.“ The smile lines don‘t go away when you stop smiling.

Cardiac arrest. Empty nest. Forty candles. Passing of friends. Now, there is no denial.

The Bible says man is like grass. They grow up fresh in the morning, and then they‘re done in the evening.

Life can be cruel to people getting old.

“I don‘t think we can maintain him as our endorser now. He‘s getting gold.“

“What happened to her? She looks as old as my mother today.”

“I don’t want to attend a seminar given by an old man whose ideas may belong to yesterday.”

Ah… I‘m sorry but what we have in mind is a younger executive for our marketing department”

But the real pain is more profound. For some, it is the hollowness of success. Life at the top can be lonely. Sales awards tarnish. Diplomas fade. A dream-come-true world has come true, and it‘s less than you‘d hoped.

Regret becomes a major pastime. The plumber wishes he‘d gone to medical school, and the doctor wishes he were a plumber. The woman who works regrets the time she didn‘t spend with her kids, and the stay-at-home mom wishes she had a career.

Regret can lead to rebellion. Use the money. Buy a Ferrari, flirt with the young, and rebel against the family. This should not be.

One is wise to be prepared. At 78, General Douglas MacArthur said: “Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul.“

Read Jesus‘ warning, “Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and the man who is prepared to lose his life will preserve it.“

Your later chapters can be your best. Your final songs can be your greatest. It could be that all your life has prepared you for a grand exit.

God‘s oldest has always been among His choicest. The final years can be your best.

During his “retirement,“ Othmar Ammann designed structures such as the Connecticut and New Jersey turnpikes, the Pittsburgh Civic Arena, Dulles Airport, the Throngs Neck Bridge, and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

Heinrich Schliemann retired from business to look for Homer’s legendary city of Troy and found it.

Winston Churchill was worthy of rest after World War II, but he didn’t. Instead, he took up a pen and won the Nobel Prize in literature at the age of 79.

When J.C. Penney was ninety-five, he affirmed, “My eyesight may be getting weaker, but my vision is increasing.”

Time slips. Days pass. Years fade. And life ends. And what we came to do must be done while there is time.

It is bizarre for a traveler not to be prepared for the journey‘s end. We would pity the poor passenger who never read his itinerary. We‘d be bewildered by someone who thought the purpose of the trip was the trip. For that person, some of the saddest words in Scripture were penned. “The harvest is past, The summer is ended, And we are not saved“ (Jer. 8:20).

Others, however, are anticipating the destination. I hope you are, and I hope you‘ll be ready when you get home. For you, age is no enemy. Age is a mile-marker – a gentle reminder that home has never been so near.

So, look forward to it. I certainly do.



(Francis Kong’s podcast “Inspiring Excellence” is now available on Spotify, Apple, Google, or other podcast streaming platforms.)

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