“The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.” (Proverbs 20:29 ESV)
“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4 (NIV)
“Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.” Proverbs 16:31 (NIV)
“Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly.” Leviticus 19:32
“Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom.” Job 32:7
“I have created you and cared for you since you were born. I will be your God through all your lifetime, Yes, even when your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you.” Isaiah 46:3b-4a LB
How did this happen? When did I get old? I remember working with the youth group in my church when I was in my twenties. One day, it dawned on me: I had crossed the line from being “one of us” to being “one of them.” I was an adult. I might be a “cool” adult according to the teens, but I was an adult – one of them. I’ve crossed another invisible line in the recent past. I’m no longer a young mom or even a young widow. I’m quickly moving into the group that is dominated by grandkids pictures and empty nesting stories. This is the group where retirement locations are more important than school districts. We don’t remember what our hair color really is and spend lots of money to be sure we never find out. When we discuss our “latest video” it’s probably the one taken of our latest colonoscopy. Suppertime is early and bedtime even earlier for this group since we wake up every two hours and struggle to go back to sleep. We have multiple pairs of “cheater glasses” that are placed in strategic locations.
What age is “too old”? I straddle the music preferences of my church and not always successfully. I learned to sing and play the piano to the old hymns. I remember when “Pass it On” and “He’s Everything to Me” were the IN youth choruses. I’ve come to accept and even appreciate the 7-11 songs: you know the ones, you sing the same 7 words 11 times. Many Sundays, I help lead worship and I realize that I am old enough to be the mother of EVERYONE that is standing on the stage with me. Do today’s congregations really want to see a frumpy, middle-aged woman singing today’s modern music? Have I become my generation’s version of the rouged cheeked, hat wearing women of our childhood?
Where do I go, now? I struggle with direction now more than I ever did as a teen. I’m not sure of my next step. Do I keep on the same path and hope that I don’t become a painful joke along the way? Do I approach life as Betty White assuming that everyone will come along for the ride? Or, is it better for all concerned if I begin “retiring” now. I don’t know. So, I guess, for now, I’ll take advantage of the discounts that come with getting old. I’ll just continue to color my hair, cream my face and embarrass my kids with my ‘wit’.
“Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations.” Deut. 32:7a