You shall rise before the aged, and defer to the old; and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:32)
According to OrbisResearch.com, “The Global Anti-Aging Market was worth $250 billion in 2016 and estimated to be growing at a CAGR of 5.8%, to reach $331.41 billion by 2021.Jun 19, 2017.” Uffda! Just think about what could be done with that income for something like global warming, or cancer research. What does that say about we human beings? We live in a society where youth is worshiped and getting older is seen as a curse. This isn’t fair to our youth, and it is certainly not to older people.
I love Peggy Freydberg’s comment, in her book, “Poems from the Pond”: “I tell myself that I must see something in the mirror besides my wrinkled veneer if I am to have any calm; that I will have to make my peace with the loss of smooth skin, and find satisfaction in the gaining of something to take its place. Something, yes, that should always have been in me. Or something that has always been in me has never seen the light of day.” We lose and gain throughout our life. When we judge one stage of life as significantly more meaningful and beneficial than another, it is destructive to all people.
I hate getting older, because my body doesn’t look, or move, like it did thirty years ago. I have a lot of aches and pains, and I cannot image how I will feel in another thirty years, if I’m still around. Other than that, I actually enjoy this older me. After nearly 40 years of focusing my study on my chosen profession, I feel like I am still learning more every day, and that is exciting. I love putting my experience with new learning and creatively stretching my mind in new ways. While I miss having my daughter underfoot every day, I love being a grandfather, and watching my family grow, as I enjoy my son-in-law and his extended family. The older I get, the less I have to prove, to myself, or anyone else.
Today, think about your aging process. Prayerfully share your feelings about it with God. Be honest, and offer your fears and frustrations. But don’t stop there. Also consider ways your life has improved as you’ve gained experience. Yes, there is physical pain, and emotional loss, but there can also be a feeling of accomplishment and wisdom. The way to bring respect back to our older people, is to respect our own aging process. To truly appreciate the blessing of memories and learning, one needs to appreciate the mistakes and struggles overcome. There is learning in that — especially as we learn to trust God to be in each and every event along the way.