Today after visiting my old church, a couple of my older sisters in the Lord were going to visit another even older sister that used to be a regular but has been quite ill of late. I have a very soft heart for her and I have not seen her for a while and so asked if I might join them for a wee hello too.
When we arrived, we were welcomed so lovingly and promptly invited to stay for lunch, which we ended up doing – we felt we could not refuse them as they expressed such a joy that we popped in and it gave us joy that they were so excited to see us.
We had the most wonderful time amidst lots of laughter and people talking over one another because 5 out of the 7 battled to hear and none had hearing-aids It was not a quiet, demure affair that you imagine the elderly would have. I have not seen so much food on a diningroom table as was on this one. We had a mixture of Greek, Italian and South African ‘Boerekos” (farm food) It was a delectable feast.
One of the loveliest things I experienced was listening to them reminiscing about days from long ago and a hearty dose of laughter accompanied these stories. Stories from when they were children, of the men they were married to, stories from the time of WW2 , of Cyprus, of South Africa ,of London of America- it was a merry time.
Three of the ladies have known each other for 67 years – that’s almost as old as the youngest sister next to me in age, and I am 45 The one and only Gent was a Cypriot who was well into his eighties and he was the most deaf of them all and he has Macular Degeneration which means he is almost blind. Another surprise was that I always thought that as you got older, you don’t eat much, well these lovely people did justice to the spread laid out. It was a wonderful afternoon indeed.
As I was leaving the sister we had originally gone to see, asked to speak to me alone. She is 81 now and although recently had a gallbladder op and also suffers from a severe type of Fybromyalgia, but instead of finding her poorly in bed, she was up and about and wanting so much to talk about her Lord. She asked me why I had first left the worship group then the church those 5 years ago. I was able to sit with her and gently explain the work that the Lord Jesus had done in my life and my life with Him and all that he had to remove in me and in my life. It was a wonderful thing to be able to sit with one so elderly and just worship the Lord with her, in both what and how He brought about the changes that were so desperately needed in my life back then, and how those things are ongoing even now. It made me so grateful to Him to be reminded of things I now at times, take for granted. She then asked me to pray for her as there are things that the Lord is bringing about in her that she is afraid of. Dying physically with pain is one of them.
You may or may not remember I wrote a post a few months ago regarding another elderly sister, Marge, who died a day or so after we had said au-revoir to her. I was able to remind this lovely sister now of the journey the Lord took Marge on over the years since the onset of her illness and that she too had been afraid of dying and how He took her ever so gently and nurtured her and drew her close to Him and so when the time came, she was able to slip away into His arms. I was also able to tell her that her right to herself is what the Lord is after and that He wants for her to give herself up completely to Him – everything including what she is battling with physically and where and how she will end out her days on earth.
Being with all these lovely elderly people gave me a new perspective on growing older, seeing it from both sides of living with Him and how it is to live without Him. Those walking with the Lord talk about Him every other conversation, those who don’t, don’t talk about Him other than to say things like “Thank God! for such and such” and it is just a turn of phrase, not really a Thanking of God.
How will it be when you and I are near that time in our lives? Losing bits of ourselves along the way to surgery and infirmity and possibly bits of our mind too? Who will be there for us to cling on to when we can no longer get out of bed or even do simple things like wash our hair or bathe unaided?
Twenty years ago I was a youthful, wrinkle-free 25 year old. 20 years from now I will be almost my parents’ age and they look so elderly and due to ill health, quite frail now. I found pictures of my 21st Birthday on Friday and could not believe how young my mum looked – she was about my age now. The most incredible thing about it, is that it has gone so terribly fast from age 25.
As the Scripture says above, “ For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”
Let’s make sure we seek the Lord to live out the rest of our days, however long or short they may be and as He pleases them to be just like Romans 8:14 says, eh? Where our lives only count for Him, regardless of what that might mean.
To God be all the glory!
In His love,