Older people take us by surprise. All of a sudden one day, they are us. This happened to me recently. Having been retired four years, I was asked to meet with a class of seminary students because, I was told, I would be a real, live sample of an older person. I hadn't sought the honor.
The language of vocation confirms that at no time in our lives are we
exempt from responsibility for others. We never stop being called
to share in the creative and redemptive activity of God through lives
Taking Retirement: A Beginner's Diary, by Carl H. Klaus
Are you old?” a little boy asked as he popped up in the pool beside me. Hoping that his vision merely had been blurred by the spray and not wanting to admit my age, I tossed off his question by replying, “I didn’t think my backstroke was that bad.” He paddled away muttering, “You must be crazy.”
As a Presbyterian pastor, my husband, Bob, had always been sympathetic when a parishioner became trapped by dementia. His views on dealing with dementia had been shaped by his father, a man of deep Christian faith and an active layman.
Amid their “slow but general retreat” this decade in terms of financial health and membership, the oldline Protestant churches are especially hampered by the aging of their memberships, a new study says.
The low-budget English production Is Anybody There? is now reaching screens in the United States, thanks to the presence of Michael Caine in the lead role. The action takes place at Lark Hall, a family-run nursing facility. As one aging resident dies, another arrives to take over the bed—a cycle of life and death accepted mostly with a nod and a shrug.
It had been almost three months since I made a pastoral call on Jack Matthews, who is one of our elderly parishioners now living at Pittsburgh’s West minster Residences. He mentioned this to an elder, who might have said something to a few other church members.
In my earlier years, my mother would often say to me, “Someday when I am old and gray . . .” I later used the phrase with my children in what they rightly described as guilt peddling. No doubt at times my mother evoked the phrase for that purpose. Recently, however, I realized that “old and gray” had a much deeper resonance for her.