An older, fellow coworker approached my brother at the machine shop and began quizzing him about his age.
“Just you wait,” the elder prophesied, “won’t be long until you’ll be gettin’ the finger when you go see the doctor.”
Mark replied, “Oh, I got that when I went to see the dentist last week.”
“Uh-ha, ha, ha, ha!” The man laughed and fell backward into Mark’s gigantic tool box on wheels.
Mark grabbed him by the shirt front and tugged him forward and upright. The old man laughed and laughed. “You need to get another dentist,” he slung over his shoulder as he walked away.
When I was in my 20s I never gave 40 much thought. It’s odd now to think that while 40 never seemed “old” to me, it must not have seemed young, either.
Thirty came and went without much fanfare. Even if there was, I wouldn’t have noticed because I was chasing 1 1/2-year-old twins around the house.
Forty seemed exciting…at first. Then it hit me like a sledgehammer. I thought I’d be one of those lucky, brave souls who didn’t waiver with numbers; I’m not. I had an aunt who said 40 didn’t bother her a bit but 50 nearly knocked her out. I have another aunt who won’t even celebrate her birthday anymore. I don’t know if she stopped after 50 or 60. The point is, she has stopped counting her years and we had better not remind her of them either. Kind of makes me wonder what 50 and 60 have in store for me. Hmm…
Some people handle age with flare. When I think of people like that I think of Betty Leonard. She had a style all her own and she didn’t apologize for it. She had dyed black hair that she kept in a hip hair cut, wore fashionable clothes (some cheetah printed), lots of gold jewelry, and painted her nails and lips vibrant colors. You’d a never guessed her age. I liked her. She was personable and good-humored and seemed to celebrate life and live it to the fullest.
I remember traveling on a four-lane highway years ago. Bob was watching the mirrors. A car approached, burning up the pavement between us. He was doing the speed limit +5. It wasn’t long before the sedan was at our side and then passed us by. We burst out laughing when we realized the car was driven by 83-year-old Betty. She didn’t let anything slow her down. What a way to live.
I don’t know if any of us are groomed to survive to old age let alone thrive. Actually, I’m pretty sure we’re not. I recently heard a d.j. say that he was 45 and figured he’d be spending lots of time in the hospital so he would like a hospital gown of his choosing. It is odd, that, how medical technology has grown by leaps and bounds but no desirable dressing gown has been designed.
If we do survive to old age we are certainly not supposed to live it the way Betty did. Don’t believe me? Haven’t you seen a doctor since turning 40? That is, if you’re blessed enough to be that age. If not, heads up. You will immediately be cursed. Make a complaint, any complaint, and you’ll get a smug smile that you’ll want to slap off your health care provider’s face and a pat answer of: “That’s what happens when you’re 40.” Add to that, every genetic disease and disorder that has ever been in your family line is bound to invade your body beginning at 40. There are plenty of health screens and tests to take to prove that you are sick. And if you’re not, they may just help you along on your journey toward disease. Don’t believe me yet?
Haven’t you watched t.v. lately? Haven’t you noticed that most commercials are for some drug you can take for some ailment that you have? And you can supplant that drug with this drug. Don’t fret the drugs. They may cause dry mouth, cramps, headache, constipation, and the like, but you’ll live. Then again, maybe not. Some of them cause blood clots, liver problems, internal bleeding, etc., and death. But we need drugs to survive to old age and beyond . . . Don’t we? No fear. Even if the drug fails and you have suffered because of it, or perhaps have died, a lawyer will help you or your surviving family members sue. Lots of commercials for that, too.
According to statistics I could find, the life expectancy for the average American is on the decline. One can expect to live to be about 80ish. However, no one wants to live to be that age if they “aren’t healthy”. What hope do we have given the fact that we are to begin feeling the effects of old age at 40? If we look to the bulk of the healthcare industry and our society in general, we are to officially begin our decline halfway to our checkout. Who wants 40 or more years of increasing vision impairment, hearing loss, weakness, aches, pains, and disease? Can you tell that I’m fed up with this world’s system and their take on it?
I’ve made a grave decision concerning old age. I’ve decided not to participate. At least not the way it’s currently accepted. I’ve decided to fight the doctors and their grim prognoses concerning 40 and beyond, the drugs and the harm they cause, and my elders who try to curse me with, “You wait!” That’s what started this mess in the first place: words, words, words–vile, destructive words. If I’m going to fight then I’m going to have to do so with the Word. Here we go:
Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. 3 JOHN 2 NLT
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! Psalm 103:1-5 NLT
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
I really like this:
But the godly will flourish like palm trees
and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house.
They flourish in the courts of our God.
Even in old age they will still produce fruit;
they will remain vital and green.
They will declare, “The Lord is just!
He is my rock!
There is no evil in him!” Psalm 92:12-15
Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. Does that sound like the old age that our society has embraced?
Let’s try this scripture on for size:
Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.” Genesis 6:3 NLT
“Normal lifespan“?! The LORD said, “120 years.” !!!
My husband blew my mind when I asked how old he would live to be if he could. He said 400 years. ! He said, “Imagine all of the inventions and stuff you’d get to see.”
“And wives,” said I, “’cause I ain’t plannin’ on bein’ here that long.” Of course, that’s if health is not an issue for him. That’s what we all say. We’d all live to grand old ages if we could but be healthy. Moses was.
Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyesight was clear, and he was as strong as ever. Deuteronomy 34:7 NLT
Is that our average senior citizen’s expectation?
The scriptures don’t present old age like something to dread, but a blessing, something God carries in His hand–if we let Him. I’m rather partial to the idea of aging according to Moses’ version; I think it’s heavenly, so I’ll do the best I can to follow along those lines. Is it going to be a battle, living this way? You betcha! All uphill with a river flowing down it. But I think it’s worth it. Don’t you? With God, ALL things are possible…even avoiding society’s laundry list of old age woes. Join me in fighting old age as our society has come to accept it. I’d love to have the company.
Ken Davis’ comedic routine, The Confused Stage of Life, sounds like someone I know and love.
This one’s for you, Dad.
Have fun with this song from Tom Rush.
God knows no age. He has no expiration. He has no limits.