Is it possible to age gracefully while eroding physiologically?

FAITH & REFLECTION -- A little girl sitting on her grandfather's knee was carefully scrutinizing him. She noticed that his skin was...

FAITH & REFLECTION — A little girl sitting on her grandfather’s knee was carefully scrutinizing him. She noticed that his skin was wrinkled and his hair was grey. “Grandpa” she asked him, “Did God make you?” Her grandfather answered, “Yes, He did sweetheart.” She turned her attention to her own smooth skin and luxurious blonde curls. “Grandpa, did God make me?” Grandpa replied, “He sure did honey.” The little girl entered into a deep contemplation with respect to the obvious differences between the two of them. Finally she said, “Grandpa, don’t you think God is doing a much better job than He used to?”

Aging … as inevitable as it is challenging. Solomon addressed aging in Ecclesiastes 12:1 – 7 and his findings are rather abysmal. He said that eyes, legs, shoulders and teeth are all heading south. He added that the aged are afraid of heights and their passion decreases as their paranoia increases and they move about like dying grasshoppers.

The passage begs the question of whether it is possible to age gracefully while physiologically eroding in such a disconcerting fashion. I’m not a senior citizen quite yet, but I believe the answer is a definitive yes. We cannot reverse the aging process, but we can retain some dignity and maintain meaning on the journey.

We need to be realistic. The passage of time precipitates changes and places limitations upon us. The prudent will recognize this and make necessary incremental adjustments along the way. Denial not only promotes anxiety and frustration, but in some instances has resulted in serious injury and even death.

A positive attitude is essential. Morbidity and preoccupation with illness and death leads to depression and immobility. I decided many years ago that I don’t know what is going to take me, but it is not going to be worrying about what is going to take me! Get a good insurance policy, plan your funeral, file them both and then get back to living.

Enjoy the numerous and obvious benefits of aging. An accumulation of practical knowledge and wisdom can come with time. This may afford the opportunity to humbly share what we have learned with others.

If financial security has been achieved, we can afford things like travel, but we can also help family and friends. And the newfound free time! Opportunities to volunteer are abundant and using some time to do so can be very rewarding.

The Ecclesiastes passage mentioned earlier also said that we should “remember our Creator while we are young …” (vs.6). Just in case that has not yet been done, let me suggest that hardening our heart toward God is more serious than the hardening of our arteries. The latter affects us for time, but the former impacts us for eternity.