Two of my boys drape overstuffed chairs in my sister's cozy living room. Papa lounges on the couch, and he's telling tales of his days: stories that captivate and entertain, stories that weave a past, fabric to clothe and secure future generations.
A light breeze stirs these words that eddy, words bringing past to life, words concrete and meaningful in an age where words evaporate into seas of cyberspace and text messaging. Lilac smell drifts in the room, mingling with talk of high school days in the chemistry lab. There are laughs and pauses, silences and dialogues...all part of this incredible living history, the boys' history, our story.
|Ben wears a pair of Papa's glasses...Papa is an amazing story teller! And they're all true (right, Papa?)|
And in the end, isn't that what matters? The stories? The words that link heart and history, that connect time and space, that hammer our days into a rich existence? Because it's not just enough to survive. It's not just enough to make it through....
And where do we turn to know the past, to unearth treasure, to find the truth? We look to our grandfathers. And our grandmothers. The quiet woman sitting with greyed hair in a wheel chair, the stooped man sweeping the corners of the grocery store, the farmer- skin furrowed by sun and harvest- leaning on the railing by the country store....treasure. They all have a past, brimming with life, waiting to be shared. What has happened when we no longer want to hear the stories of life? Of humanity? Of us? What happens to us when we stop listening, when we no longer find the value in the stories that make us who we are?
We become poor. Because without a past, there is no future. Without connection, we fall apart. Without caring and compassion, we become sterile and lifeless.
Paul says in the Bible:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2Corinthians 4:16-18)
As Christians know the truth: with age, people only become more precious. Though our bodies are decaying, our minds are becoming stronger and wiser in Christ every day. We actually become more valuable as we age. Contrary to what the world teaches, our worth is not measured by our perceived usefulness.
But it's not enough to know it. We have to live it. Can you do something to minister to someone older today? Perhaps write a letter to a relative, make a phone call to a shut-in, talk to that man at the country store, visit an elderly neighbor? Most likely, you will be the one that is most blessed.